You are urged to change more than your clocks when Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 3rd. It is also time to test your smoke detectors and change the batteries if necessary. A properly installed and tested home fire alarm with a fresh battery is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to protect yourself and your family from a home fire.
NOTE: You may have a “ten year” smoke alarm. It is important to test these but not remove them from their bracket if they are working because that is what the manufacturer recommends. (It may mess up the battery or void the warranty.)
Batteries are about $7 and this potentially life-saving move should be done twice a year – at the beginning and end of daylight saving time. It’s a small price for your family’s safety.
Tragically, many people mistakenly believe they’d be awakened by the smell of smoke in time to escape. Clinical experiments have found that the sense of smell actually lessens when people are asleep. In addition, smoke disorients people and dulls their senses, making it less likely that other cues, such as cries for help, will awaken them. This is why working smoke alarms are so important.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month to ensure they are working properly
- Make sure everyone in the home knows how to respond if the alarm sounds
- Practice home fire drills
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your smoke detectors (Instructions can be found on the company’s website if you don’t have them any longer)
- Never borrow a smoke detectors battery for another use
- Although smoke detectors are present in 94 % of American homes, 20% do not work, mostly because of dead or missing batteries. That means roughly 19 million homes are at risk due to non-working smoke alarms and another 6 million homes are at risk due to no smoke alarms.
- In the U.S. roughly 80% of fire deaths result from fires in homes without working smoke detectors. Half of the home fire deaths resulted from fires in the small percentage of homes (6%) without any smoke detectors.
- If a fire occurs, working smoke detectors cut the risk of dying in a home fire nearly in half by providing early warning and critical extra seconds to escape.
- Eighty-three (83) percent of all civilian fire-related deaths are a result of home fires.
- The National Fire Alarm Code recommends a minimum of one smoke alarm on each level of a home, including one inside each bedroom for new construction and one outside each sleeping area.
- In addition to changing smoke alarm batteries, smoke detectors should be replaced every ten (10) years.
- Somewhere in the nation, a home fire death occurs approximately every three hours.
- The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 pm and 6 am –When most people are sleeping.
- Households with non-working smoke detectors now outnumber those with no smoke alarms.