Fire Prevention 52: Smoke Detectors and 9-Volt Battery Safety

By Kathy Komatz, National Structural Fire Training Specialist
9 volt battery label

According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommendations, we should change our smoke alarm batteries every six months. Thanks to the Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery campaign, everyone can be on track to always having a working smoke detector.

9-volt batteries power most of our home smoke detectors, as well as many other household items and toys. But did you know that these batteries can be a fire hazard if not stored safely or disposed of with care? The positive and negative posts of a 9-volt battery are close together, making it much easier for a metal object to touch the two posts at the same time, potentially causing a short circuit and a fire. Avoid this fire hazard by:

  • storing these batteries upright and in a manner that they cannot come in contact with metal objects such as keys, paper clips, steel wool, etc.
  • covering the posts of the batteries with electrical or duct tape
  • storing these batteries in their original packaging.

So to prepare to "Spring Forward" this weekend, make sure you have enough batteries for all of your smoke detectors, and remember to store the extras and dispose of the used batteries safely.

You can find more information at Prevention 52: Change your Clock = Change your Battery.

Take Action

  1. This weekend, "spring ahead" into safety by changing the batteries in your home smoke detectors.
  2. To be safe, cover the positive and negative posts of 9-volt batteries with tape before disposing of them.