Every six months you hear from firefighters, “When you change your clock for Daylight Saving Time, check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.” It is more than a slogan – and firefighters see it often – smoke alarms save lives.
Working smoke detectors 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, firefighters recommend installing a combination photoelectric/ionization smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside of every bedroom and on each floor of your home.
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. 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, the Newton Fire Department 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.
Find more information from the National Fire Protection Association about Smoke Alarms by clicking here.
Find more information from the National Fire Protection Association about Exit Drills in the Home by clicking here.