When you set your clocks forward one hour this weekend for the spring time change, Clark County fire and building officials are reminding the public to take a few extra minutes to change the batteries in the smoke detectors in your home. Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 12.
Officials say the spring time change is good time of year to get into the potentially life-saving habit of changing batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. “Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries,” said Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell.
Officials say smoke detectors should be tested monthly. It’s generally recommended that alarm batteries be replaced at least twice a year to ensure a working system, or according to manufacturer instructions if batteries are long-life. It’s also advised to replace old smoke alarms every ten years. “Studies show that only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are and that they need to be replaced every decade,” said Sam Palmer of the county’s Building and Fire Prevention Department. Installation suggestions include:
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
- An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, use both types of alarms or a combination alarm.
- Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following manufacturer’s instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling. Save manufacturer’s instructions for testing and maintenance.
- If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
- Smoke alarms are available for people who are hearing impaired. These devices use strobe lights. Vibration devices also can be added to these alarms.
Additionally, you should practice a home escape route with your family at least twice a year. Planning includes identifying all possible exists and escape routes in your home, drawing up a plan, and discussing it with everyone in your household. It’s best to know at least two ways out of every room, if possible, and to make sure all the doors and windows leading outside open easily. A meeting place should be designated a safe distance outside your home where everyone can gather in the event of an emergency.