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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2014

The Office Of The State Fire Marshal Reminds Residents To Change Their Smoke Alarm Batteries As Clocks Are Set Forward This Sunday
Sunday, March 9th: Change your Clock, Change your Batteries

SPRINGFIELD – As a biannual initiative to keep Illinois families safe, The Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) reminds the public to change their smoke alarm batteries as clocks are set forward one hour this Sunday, March 9th, 2014.  Smoke alarm batteries should be changed twice a year in an effort to prevent injuries and deaths in case of a fire emergency.

“Safety starts at home.  One basic step is to change your smoke alarm batteries on Saturday before going to bed,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis.  “Illinois law requires every household to have smoke alarms within 15 feet of every bedroom, and at least one on each floor of the home.”
 
On Sunday, March 9th, residents will set their clocks one hour forward from 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. CST.  This is the time for parents and adults to replace smoke alarm batteries the night before, teach children how to identify the sound of a smoke alarm and practice a home escape plan.

Last year in Illinois, more than 2,050 structure fires were reported.  In more than 350 of those structure fires, smoke alarms alerted occupants. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments have responded to an estimated annual average of 366,600 home structure fires from 2007-2011.  On average, seven people died each day in U.S. home fires.  Sixty percent of all fire deaths reported during that period resulted from homes with no smoke alarms present or where smoke alarms were installed but did not operate.

The following information provides additional tips for smoke alarm installation and maintenance:

• According to the Illinois Smoke Detector Act, smoke alarms should be installed within 15 feet of all sleeping areas, with at least one on each floor including the basement.
• For residents that have hard-wired smoke alarms, there must be a battery backup in case of a power outage.
• For hearing impaired family members, consider installing an alarm that combines flashing lights with sound and/or a bed vibrating alarm.
• Read the manufacturer’s directions before installing your smoke detectors. Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises). Ceiling mounted alarms should be installed at least six inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted alarms should be installed 4 to 6 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 about fire safety and prevention, contact your local fire department or visit:  www.sfm.illinois.gov



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