With the change of daylight saving time beginning Sunday, March 14, the Heart of America Metro Fire Chiefs Council reminds you that when you change your clock, change the batteries in your smoke alarms. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a working smoke alarm increases your family's chances of a safe escape from a fire by more than 50 percent.
The Metro Fire Chiefs Council suggests you install at least one smoke alarm inside every sleeping area and on every level of your home. Installation is just the first step in protecting your family from fires. Smoke alarms also need to be tested and maintained if they are to continue to be your family's “nose” at night.
The Metro Fire Chiefs Council offers these simple maintenance tips to ensure your smoke alarms are in good working order:
• Testing -- Test each alarm once a month to make sure it is operating. Testing is the only way to ensure it is working to protect you. Push the test button and listen for the alarm. If you can't reach the alarm, stand under it and push the test button with a broom handle.
• Replacing Batteries -- If your smoke alarms are battery-operated, replace the batteries according to the manufacturer's instructions. Do this at least twice a year (an easy reminder -- change your clock, change your batteries), or when the alarm chirps, alerting you the battery power is low. Replace the batteries immediately if you move into a new home. Make sure no one disables your smoke alarms by borrowing batteries for other uses.
• Cleaning -- Just as you clean your home, your smoke alarms need to be cleaned. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions. Cobwebs and dust usually can be removed with a vacuum cleaner attachment. If you are going to be doing work nearby that could send dust in the air, cover the alarm with a shield. Also, shield the alarm if you are painting around it, and never paint on it. Remove the shield promptly after work is completed.
Many local fire departments offer free smoke alarms to help reduce injury, death and property loss caused by fire. Certain fire departments can install the alarms and talk to the household members about fire safety tips.
For more information about the free smoke alarm program or other helpful fire safety tips, call your local fire department.