Sound the Alarm campaign checks, installs smoke alarms for free

smoke alarm safety

JACKSON, Mo. (KBSI) – As you roll forward your clocks this weekend, take time to test, inspect, and replace broken or expired smoke/CO alarms in your home.

The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal reminds Illinoisans to test, inspect, and replace broken or expired smoke/CO alarms in their homes with new 10-year sealed battery alarms as they change the clocks this weekend.

If you still have functional alarms with removable batteries, now is good time to change those batteries.

An Illinois law that took effect on January 1, 2023 now requires 10-year sealed smoke alarms be installed in all homes built before 1988 or that do not have hardwired smoke detectors.

“Synthetic materials used in modern home construction causes homes to burn faster and hotter while producing toxic fumes limiting escape times to 3 minutes or less. This makes it vital for residents to ensure they have working smoke alarms in their homes while maintaining a fire escape plan that takes everyone’s needs into account and practice that plan,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal James A. Rivera.

The time change serves as a bi-annual reminder to test all smoke and CO alarms in your home.

If you find an alarm that is not working or is expired, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal advises you to replace the alarm with a new 10-year sealed battery alarm. Review your fire-escape plan with your family and hold a drill to
practice your plan.

The American Red Cross offers these tips for maintaining working smoke alarms.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year if your model requires it.
  • Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. That’s because the sensor becomes less sensitive over time. Check the date of your smoke alarms and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Practice your two-minute escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late. Include at least two ways to get out of every room and select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or a landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone knows where to meet.
  • Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like. Talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency.

The National Fire Protection Association reports between 2014-2018, almost three out of every five home fire deaths in the U.S. resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms. The chances of dying in a home fire was reduced by 55% in homes were working smoke alarms are present. In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Dead batteries accounted for 25% of smoke alarm failures. In 2022 in Illinois, 66% of pre-existing smoke alarms being replaced in homes that received the new 10-year sealed battery alarms through the “Be Alarmed!” program was found to be non-functional or were expired.

In 2022, more than 1,200 Illinois homes and 2,808 residents are now protected by new smoke alarms and were educated about the importance of having a fire safety plan thanks to the “Be Alarmed!” program.

Since “Be Alarmed” began in 2018, 250 active fire departments from more than 61 counties in the state have installed 16,053 10-year sealed battery alarms and have reached 12,565 people providing them with lifesaving fire safety education.

Tap here for more information on the “Be Alarmed!” program visit.

Jackson Fire Rescue is partnering with the American Red Cross of Southeast Missouri and Northeast Arkansas for their annual Sound the Alarm campaign.

On Saturday, March 25, fire crews in Jackson and the American Red Cross will send crews to home check and/or install smoke alarms.

The American Red Cross is making homes fire resistant through the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. At no cost to you, we would like to demonstrate some simple changes in the home that will help you protect your family against fire. The Red Cross will install a free smoke alarm within your home.

The goal is to save lives. If you live in the city of Jackson and would like for crews to check the smoke alarms in your house or if you need a smoke detector installed in your home free of charge, go to and sign up. Answer the questions to request a visit. The American Red Cross team will follow up to schedule an appointment for a free in-home smoke alarm installation.

During the home visit, you will receive:

  • Installed smoke alarms if no working smoke alarms are present in your home
  • Guidance in the development of a Family Disaster Plan
  • Valuable emergency preparedness tips and information
  • All demonstration and installation services will be performed by Red Cross-trained volunteers and/or licensed/insured professionals.

Related story:

Southeast Missouri Red Cross Chapter to install smoke alarms during Sound the Alarm event

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