Don't Change the Smoke Alarm Battery in the City of Madison

Friday, November 4, 2011 - 2:30am

As much of the nation prepares to "fall back" this weekend, marking the end of Daylight Savings Time, many fire departments take this opportunity to encourage residents to change the batteries in their smoke alarms.

The City of Madison Fire Department would like to remind residents that a City smoke alarm ordinance passed in 2009 requires smoke alarms with a 10-year lithium battery in a tamper-resistant compartment or hard-wired smoke alarms with a battery back-up in all residences.

While back-up batteries should be changed regularly in hard-wired smoke alarms AND carbon monoxide alarms, attempting to change a 10-year lithium battery in a tamper-resistant compartment will likely damage the alarm to the point where it is inoperable.

Smoke alarms powered by battery only should be replaced with ordinance-compliant alarms. The 10-year lithium battery lasts the life of the alarm and does not have to be replaced during that time.

All residents should test both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms each month to ensure that they are working.

The smoke alarm ordinance, first passed in 2009, led to two grants for smoke alarm installation, totaling more than $100,000. A two-year smoke alarm installation project ended in June after members of the Department installed almost 6,000 alarms in more than 1,100 homes throughout the City.

Homes selected for grant participation were those owned by older adults, families with young children and people with disabilities. Every member of the Department's Prevention Unit, Command Staff, Administrative Staff, and Fire Fighters Local 311 worked on various aspects of the project, both on-duty and off-duty.

Since 2007, the City of Madison has recorded a single fire fatality. The cause of that fire was careless cooking. There were no working smoke alarms in the 2-story condo where the fire occurred.

  • Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947