We're almost three weeks into the Daylight Savings calendar and you possibly have forgotten something. Did you check the batteries in all the smoke alarms? Does your home have the required number of smoke alarms? Is your smoke alarm more than 10 years old?

The South Dakota Safety Council (SDSC) has a very helpful guide to ensure your home and family are protected by knowing the law and offering safety tips when using smoke alarms.

So if you find yourself asking, "How many smoke alarms does my house need", then it's time to refer to South Dakota state law:

Smoke alarms are required in all residential dwellings (single-family homes, multi-family homes, hotels, rental properties, dormitories, etc.). Smoke alarms in newly constructed or renovated dwellings are required to be hardwired with a battery backup, interconnected, and UL-listed.

Your house provides you with comfortable living. Protecting you from the elements, a place to raise your kids, a gathering point. It's all those things.

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But your house needs to be protected from tragedy, like fire.

Proper maintenance of your smoke alarms is essential. They cut the risk of fatalities in a home fire almost in half.

When should I check my smoke alarms?

Many of us, by habit, check smoke alarms twice a year when setting our clocks back in the fall or ahead in the spring.

Should I check smoke alarms more than twice a year? Yes, monthly is the best practice. Pick a birthday, anniversary, or a major holiday.

Teaching the younger members of your family will ensure this practice continues. Give them the responsibility to check the smoke alarms in their bedrooms on certain dates.

And pushing that test button isn't the only thing to be done. Smoke alarms should be vacuumed twice a year. Dust and spider web build-up can cause failure.

The SDSC offers you these tips when an alarm sounds:

  • Plan two ways out of every room
  • Make sure you can open all doors and windows
  • Stay low under smoke where the air is fresher and easier to breathe
  • Designate a family meeting place outside the home
  • Once outside, call 911
  • Do not re-enter the home. Leave that to emergency personnel

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