Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday and as communities prepare to “fall back” one hour, the Great Bend Fire Department and the Office of the Kansas State Fire Marshal urge residents to practice fire safety by testing their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and changing the batteries.
Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said it’s best to remember a particular annual event — the time change, an anniversary or birthday — to make the switch. “Fresh batteries allow smoke and CO alarms to do their jobs saving lives by alerting families of a fire or a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide in their homes.”
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that between 2010 and 2012 there was an average of 360,400 unintentional residential fires. These fires resulted in nearly 2,200 deaths, nearly 13,000 injuries and nearly $6.5 billion in property damage each year.
Furthermore, Kansas Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen stresses the importance of replacing outdated smoke alarms with newer models featuring 10-year sealed lithium batteries.
“Ensuring you have working smoke alarms in your home is the single most important step you can take to increase your family’s safety from a home fire,” explains Doug Jorgensen, State Fire Marshal. “Purchasing and installing smoke detectors with batteries that don’t need to be changed annually is one of the most affordable ways to protect your family.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.
To protect your home, follow these smoke alarm safety tips:
• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home, including in the basement.
• If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
• For smoke alarms without the long-life lithium batteries, be sure to replace batteries at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, replace only the battery. Date each unit when they are installed and replace them after ten years – or sooner if they do not successfully pass the test by sounding the alarm when the test button is pressed.
In addition to changing smoke alarm batteries, it is also a good idea to practice a family escape plan:
• Plan and practice two escape routes out of every room in your house.
• Designate an outside meeting place.
• In case of fire, call 9-1-1 once you are safely outside your home.
• Once outside, stay outside and don’t return for anything – not even a pet.