We all turned our clocks forward Sunday, and while many are not particularly happy with losing an hour of sleep, fire officials are issuing an important reminder.
Daylight Saving Time is a reminder to check up on home safety equipment, especially smoke alarms and other detectors. Fire officials say that checking the batteries in those devices can be extremely important. Even though the clocks have already been changed, there’s still time to make sure your smoke alarm is working properly.
“Smoke detectors are mechanical and like everything else, they need preventative maintenance,” says Essex Fire Department Chief Charlie Cole. “With the time change, it’s a great reminder to go up and check the detector, take them off the ceiling, check the batteries, replace the batteries if you need to,” he adds.
According to the American Red Cross, seven people die in a home fire every day in the United States. Jennifer Costa from the Red Cross says smoke alarms are lifesaving.
“Having working smoke alarms cut that chance of dying in a home fire by half, and so a simple action of making sure that you have working smoke alarms could really mean the difference between life and death in your family,” Costa says.
Chief Cole urges people to check the date on their smoke alarms. “If the detector itself looks yellowed or faded, generally it means it’s time to replace it with a new one,” he says.
Costa notes the importance of having a plan to get out of your home in two minutes or less in the case of a fire.
“There should be a plan with your family, every member of your family, because children may have different needs, from say you live with an elderly relative,” says Costa. “Get out of the house, stay out of the house, and have everyone meet at that safe meeting spot,” she adds.
Costa adds that you should recognize at least two exits out of every room in your home.