Camino, CA November 4, 2022 — In the fall, the leaves on trees change colors and reach the end of their existence. Falling to the earth, they fulfilled a full life of absorbing sunlight and carbon dioxide to make energy for the tree. If you have a standard smoke alarm, this could be a metaphor for the life of the battery inside. We like to say "when the leaves fall off the trees, check your batteries".
Sunday November 6 at 2 am is the end of Daylight Saving Time and is also the time we remind residents to "change your clocks, check your batteries". This simple task assures that your smoke alarms are working and could save lives.
Every home should have at least one smoke alarm per floor, inside and outside of each bedroom. Smoke alarms that are inter-connected will alert all occupants if a single smoke alarm detects smoke, providing early warning to get out safely. Smoke alarms can be photoelectric, warning of smoldering fires, or photoionization, warning of quickly spreading fires. Combination photoelectric/ionization smoke alarms are the best option. 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. Several options are now available to receive alerts on your smart phone from Wi-Fi enabled smoke alarms and other devices such as carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. This technology can warn you of a fire even if you are not home. Some smoke alarms have 10-year batteries that do not require replacement, but regular checks are recommended. Regardless if the smoke alarm has a 10-year battery or batteries that are changed annually, they need to be replaced after 10 years. Units bearing dates before November of 2012 should all be replaced by now.
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 firefighters 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 firefighters 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.