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Change the clocks and remember the batteries for your smoke alarms

As you get ready to turn back the clocks back on Sunday, make sure you check your smoke detectors too, especially those batteries.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports between 2012-2016, 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. 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 Illinois, 79% of smoke alarms being replaced aren’t working. By replacing alarms that have missing batteries or ones that are either expired or broken with new ten-year sealed detectors, this will help to reduce residential fire deaths across the state.

Quincy Fire Chief Joe Henning said this is an event that should be on your radar because creating awareness about this issue can be life saving.

"As the fire service, we always like to pick notable events, events that are easy to remember and remind people to change their batteries and certainly changing of the clock and time is a good time to do that," Henning said. "So we will be setting our clocks back on Saturday night and you need to change your batteries in your smoke detector as well."

A 2017 Illinois law required ten-year sealed smoke alarms be installed in all homes built before 1988 or that do not have hardwired smoke detectors by January 1, 2023.

In 2019, there were 91 residential fire deaths in Illinois, with most of those deaths occurring in homes without working smoke alarms.

For more information on the “Be Alarmed!” program in Illinois visit

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Don Dwyer

Don Dwyer is a Morning Anchor/Reporter at WGEM.

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