Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries!
It is more than a slogan – and firefighters see it often – smoke alarms save lives. Working smoke alarms alert you more quickly in the event of a fire and provide you and your loved ones more time to escape safely.
Statistics back it up, too. Nearly two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarm — a number that can easily be reduced with a few simple moments of fire safety precaution and preparation twice a year.
While checking your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms is important, many smoke alarms are hard wired to the electric of your home or they have long-life-span batteries – making the need to change the battery obsolete. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do come Daylight Saving Time.
The first step is to make sure you have the most up-to-date alarms. Firefighters recommend replacing any smoke alarm that is older than 10 years old.
It is also important to have the correct type of smoke alarm. Photoelectric smoke alarms are more effective at warning of smoke from smoldering fires, while ionization smoke alarms are quicker to inform about free-burning fires. With that in mind, fire fighters recommend installing a combination photoelectric/ionization smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside of every bedroom and on each floor of your home.
Having smoke alarms that are monitored by an alarm company can alert firefighters sooner as well as protect pets and your property if you are away from home when a fire starts. If you have a monitored smoke alarm system, make sure to put it into test mode before testing your system.
Knowing what to do in an emergency can mean the difference between life and death, so once your smoke alarms are installed and in good working order, practice evacuating your home using your home fire escape plan.
Make sure your family knows two ways out of the house, including from bedrooms. Draw a map to show both exit paths. Push the button on the alarm and let it make its loud warning so that all family members know the sound, then practice exiting the home as if it is an actual emergency.
Having a predetermined meeting place once you leave the home will help fire fighters quickly know if everyone is out of the house and, if not, where they need to search first. And most importantly, remind your family members that once they are out of the house – they should stay out until fire fighters give the all clear to reenter.
So, when you change your clock for Daylight Saving Time, El Dorado County Fire Protection District firefighters encourage you to not only take a few moments to check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, but also to take the extra time to practice fire safety in your home.