SPRINGFIELD – As winter approaches, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is reminding people to change their smoke alarm batteries when they set their clocks back to standard time this Sunday, November 4th. Residents are urged to do this when the time changes twice each year to ensure that smoke alarms are always working properly.
“Our mission is to protect the safety of families across the state. Changing smoke alarms’ batteries twice a year when the time changes is a simple way to save lives,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis.
On Sunday, Illinois residents will set their clocks one hour back, from 2:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., on Sunday, November 4, 2012 CST. Before going to bed on Saturday, residents should change their batteries in their smoke alarms. OSFM also reminds families to install smoke alarms on every floor and hallway, especially outside of each bedroom or sleeping area. The batteries should be changed in other essential devices such as flashlights, radios and carbon monoxide detectors.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, from 2006 to 2010, 40 percent of U.S. residential fire deaths happened in homes with no smoke alarms. Twenty three percent of fire fatalities occurred in residential occupancies that did not have a working smoke alarm; 80 percent of those deaths were children.
The following information provides additional tips for smoke alarm installation and maintenance:
• According to the Illinois Smoke Detector Act, smoke alarms should be within 15 feet of all sleeping areas, with at least one on each floor.
• For residents that have hard-wired smoke alarms, battery operated smoke alarm backups should be considered in case of a power outage.
• For hearing impaired family members, install alarms that combine flashing lights with sound.
• Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises). Ceiling mounted alarms should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted alarms should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
• Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
• Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could interfere with the alarm’s ability to sound.
For more information on smoke alarms and other devices please visit, www.sfm.illinois.gov.