SPRINGFIELD – State Fire Marshal David B. Foreman is reminding people to change the batteries in their smoke alarms this weekend as they change their clocks to end Daylight Saving Time. Clocks should be moved back one hour at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4.
“In the past three decades, residential smoke alarms have helped cut home fire deaths by half,” Foreman said. “While most homes today have smoke alarms, not all are in working condition because the batteries have been removed or are depleted. We encourage people to develop a regular routine and change the batteries in their smoke alarms at the same time they change their clocks. It’s really a very simple thing but it can make a life or death difference.”
As well, the Fire Marshal suggests that people also replace the batteries in their carbon monoxide detectors. Last year, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed House Bill 5284 that requires homeowners and apartment owners to install operating carbon monoxide detectors within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes – the same requirements as for smoke detectors. Houses that do not rely on the combustion of fossil fuels for heat, ventilation or hot water, such as any electric furnaces or water heaters, or that are not connected in any way to a garage, are exempt from the requirements.
Foreman said it’s also important for families to develop and practice a plan for quick evacuation if the smoke alarm sounds. Plans should include multiple exit routes from the house and a meeting place at a safe distance outside the home.
Smoke alarm tips include:
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, making sure there is an alarm outside every separate sleeping area.
• Test your smoke alarms once a month.
• Don’t disable smoke alarms, even temporarily.
• Replace smoke alarms once every 10 years.
• Consider installing smoke alarms with “long-life” (10 year) batteries.
• If you or someone in your house is deaf or hard of hearing, consider installing an alarm that combines flashing lights, vibration and/or sound.
• If you’re building a new home or remodeling an existing one, consider installing an automatic home fire sprinkler system. Sprinklers and smoke alarms together cut your risk of dying in a home fire 82 percent relative to having neither.
• Install dual technology smoke detectors. The Fire Marshal recommends these for maximum protection.