Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries

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(By Fire Chief Matt Love) This past Sunday we set our clocks forward one hour for Daylight Saving Time.  We may have lost an hour of sleep, but we gained the extra hour of daylight in return.  We would like to remind everyone that Daylight Saving Time is a perfect time to check and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

There is no doubt, smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms that are property installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries.  If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and smoke alarms provide you time to get out.

Here are some safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.  Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area.  Install alarms on every level of the home.
  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected.  When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month.  Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
  • Replace smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

Facts and figures about smoke alarms from the NFPA:

  • In 2014-2018, smoke alarms sounded in more than half (54%) of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
  • Almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (41%) or no working smoke alarms (16%)
  • The death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms compared to the rate in homes with working smoke alarms (13.0 deaths vs. 5.8 deaths per 1,000 fires).
  • In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, two of every five (41%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.
  • Dead batteries caused one-quarter (26%) of the smoke alarm failures.
  • In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate more than 400 people die in the United States every year from carbon monoxide poisoning.  

    Spring into action by adding safety to Daylight Saving Time!