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Replace smoke alarms after 10 years, officials say

Officials released the logo for the new campaign.Office of the State Fire Marshal

When was the last time you replaced your smoke detectors? If it's been more than a decade, state officials say the time has come to switch in a new set.

The office of State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and the Fire Chiefs' Association of Massachusetts on Monday laid out a new campaign to remind residents that it is not enough to keep fresh batteries in an aging smoke alarm.

Most manufacturers report that the devices have a service life of about 10 years, and recommend replacement after that.

"Over the course of ten years, we all replace many home appliances such as toasters, coffee makers, even refrigerators," Wellesley Fire Chief Rick DeLorie, head of the chiefs' association, said in a statement. "No home appliance lasts forever. It's important to replace aging smoke alarms too."


The new public awareness campaign — "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With" — will include television and radio public service announcements, along with transit advertisements and social media outreach.

Many fire departments also offer checks to make sure residents' equipment is in working order.

"Most people know they are supposed to have working smoke alarms, but the one thing most people don't know is that they should replace their entire alarms about every ten years," Coan said in a statement.

Officials are looking into whether smoke alarms were up to code as part of their inquiry into last week's fire that killed four family members and destroyed a three-family home in Lynn.

Coan's office said smoke detectors are extremely important to saving lives. Thirty-six percent of fire deaths in one- and two-family homes happened when there were not working fire alarms or when they did not work properly.

Andy Rosen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @andyrosen.