SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD)– The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has sent a news release imploring residents to test, inspect, and replace smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms have a life span of 10 years before needing to be replaced, meaning any alarm manufactured before Oct. 2013 needs replaced with a 10-year sealed battery device.

“Daylight Saving Time serves as a bi-annual reminder for residents to test, inspect and replace any broken or expired smoke and CO alarms in their homes that could save their life,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal James A. Rivera.

He continued, “Materials used in modern home construction burn hotter and faster reducing the escape times to less than 3 minutes in most cases. Families need to review their fire escape plans and hold drills to ensure everyone in the house knows at least two ways out of every room and where to meet outside of the home in the event of a fire.”

Three out of five home fire deaths were from homes with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that didn’t work.

The OSFM has released the following tips to help families prepare for a potential fire:

  • Get everyone in your household together and make a home escape plan. Walk through your home and look for two ways out of every room.
  • Make sure escape routes are clear of debris and doors and windows open easily. Windows with security bars or grills should have an emergency release device.
  • Plan an outside meeting place where everyone will meet once they have escaped. A good meeting place is something permanent, like a tree, light pole, or mailbox a safe distance in front of the home.
  • If there are infants, older adults, family members with mobility limitations or children who do not wake to the sound of the smoke alarm, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the event of an emergency.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Respond quickly – get up and go, remember to know two ways out of every room, get yourself outside quickly, and go to your outside meeting place with your family.
  • Once you’re out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues. 

More fire tips are available here.