Sunday, November 1st, 2020, we “Fall Back” and set our clocks back one hour to Eastern Standard Time. As we do, the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System reminds citizens to use this opportunity to check the batteries in your smoke alarms.

A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you’re awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert, scanning the air for smoke. A smoke alarm with a dead or missing battery is the same as having no smoke alarm at all!

“Smoke alarms are the first line of defense in alerting a person to the presence of smoke and fire in the home,” said Keith Johnson, Chief of the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System. “It’s critical that these life-saving devices are tested frequently so they work when you need them most.”

Remember, smoke alarms must be maintained! All smoke alarms should be tested monthly and maintained by replacing the batteries if necessary and cleaning off any dust and debris. Standard battery operated (9 volt)  smoke alarms should have their batteries replaced yearly. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s expiration date and specifications on the label located on the back of the alarm. Whether hardwired or battery driven, ALL smoke alarms should be completely replaced every ten years!

Loudoun County Fire and Rescue offers free home safety and smoke alarm assessments to all Loudoun County residents. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the department hotline 703-737-8093 or visit

In addition to regular testing and maintenance of your smoke alarms, develop and practice a home escape plan so that everyone knows what to do if a smoke alarm sounds. To learn about creating a home escape plan and get more fire safety information, visit or call Lisa Braun, Public Education Manager, at 571-258-3222.