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Most of us pay attention to expiration dates on food and medical prescriptions. But, have you ever considered the expiration date of a smoke alarm? Yes, these potentially life-saving devices have lives of their own and expire after about 10 years or 87,000 hours of service.

However, that’s something that’s not widely known. A recent national survey conducted by First Alert revealed that 72 percent of Americans are not aware that smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years. If you neglect replacing your alarms, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk.

If you open up the smoke alarm in most cases a manufactured or expiration date can be found on it inside the cover. If there is no date, then it may be too old anyway and should be replaced.

I’m encouraging everyone to make sure their home is equipped with working smoke alarms – the key word being “working.”

The fact is, even if you have smoke alarms installed at home, you and your family may not be sufficiently protected if you haven’t maintained them. According to the Houston Fire Department, an estimated 30 percent of all residential fires responded to are in homes without a smoke alarm (or they have a non-working smoke alarm).

Check the batteries
Check to ensure it isn't filled with dust
Check to ensure it hasn't been painted over in the vent areas
Check the alarm by depressing the test button.
Check the expiration date

For the discounted pricing of smoke alarms these days, it just isn't worth the risk not to have a properly working one.

Authors Note: I never realized this until I went to change the batteries in all three of our units because 1 was beeping. Noted the date and it had been expired a year so I researched this out and posted it for everyone's benefit.

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