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Spring Forward With New Batteries

This Sunday marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. We're pretty happy to be setting our clocks ahead to add an hour of precious daylight to our evenings, but there is another important safety aspect to this weekend that we want to make sure you are aware of.

When you’re turning the clocks forward, it is also the perfect time to change your smoke alarm batteries, and ensure that they are working. It happens twice a year and there is no better way to remember. We've told you before on social media (facebook, twitter, instagram), but we're putting it here in writing along with some tips.

Replace smoke detector batteries every daylight savings time

According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), the death rate for home structure fires in which there was a smoke alarm present, but it did not operate, was three times greater than in homes that had working smoke detectors. Of the reasons that the alarms failed to operate, 24% of the time the cause was due to dead or discharged batteries, and a staggering 46% of the time the cause was missing or disconnected batteries. Smoke detectors save lives, but they can only do so if they are operational.

Some additional tips provided by the NFPA to help ensure the effectiveness of the smoke alarms in your home include:

  • Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, as well as outside of each sleeping area. This makes sense, obviously. But how many of us actually have them in every bedroom? Make the change now!

  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, including the basement. Don't neglect areas you infrequent. A fire can start there and quickly spread before you know it.

  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound. This might me a bigger investment of time and money, but isn't your home worth it? How about your life and the lives of your family?

  • All smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month by pressing the test button. Better to hear it when you except to, than in the middle of the night. Or even worse – not at all, when you need it most.

  • There are two kinds of alarms, ionization smoke alarms, which are quicker to warn about flaming fires, and photoelectric alarms, which are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. The NFPA recommends using both types of alarms, or a combination alarm, in the home.

  • Smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or high on a wall. To reduce false alarms, they should be kept at least 10 feet from the stove.

  • Never paint over a smoke alarm’s casing as it could interfere with operation. It's likely your smoke detector says this right on it. Heed the warning.

  • Ensure that everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and how to respond. You won't want to waste a moment in an emergency. Being informed with a plan with spring you into the correct planned actions.

  • All smoke alarms should be replaced when they are 10 years old. If you have no idea how long your smoke detectors have been in your home, take a look to see when they were produced. Often they have a date stamped on them. Can't find one? Replace them.

  • Consider checking on elderly relatives or neighbors, ensuring that their smoke alarms have working batteries could save their lives. Not only is this the nice, kind thing to do, but it also means that your home may also avoid fire damage.

  • For those who are hard-of-hearing, or deaf, special alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers can be installed.

It is easy to take for granted that your smoke alarms will always work when you need them to, but having them fail due to dead or removed batteries is a risk that we hope no one is willing to take.

Additional information about smoke alarms from the NFPA can be viewed here.

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