Daylight Saving Time and Smoke/CO Alarms
 
By PIO / Fire Prevention Officer Scot Best
November 3, 2021
 

Every six months, as Daylight Saving Time begins and ends, you hear from firefighters, “When you change your clock, check your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.” It is more than a slogan – and firefighters see it often – smoke alarms save lives. Working smoke detectors alert you more quickly in the event of a fire and provide you and your loved ones more time to escape safely.

This weekend, Sunday, November 7th at 2am, marks the end of Daylight Savings Time and the Ridge VFD would like to remind you to test your alarms when you set your clocks back. Change batteries if applicable. This is a simple, life-saving habit to start incorporating into your everyday lives.

Statistics back it up, too. Working smoke alarms decrease the risk of dying in reported home fires by nearly half according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In half of reported home fires in which smoke alarms were present but did not operate, the batteries had been removed or the alarm was disconnected due to dead battery alerts or nuisance alarms. Nearly two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarm — a number that can easily be reduced with a few simple moments of fire safety precaution and preparation twice a year.

While checking your smoke and CO alarms is important, many smoke alarms are hard wired to the electric of your home or they have long-life-span batteries – making the need to change the battery obsolete. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do come Daylight Saving Time. Remember, smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective to up to 10 years. If the alarm beeps, warning that the battery is low, replace the smoke alarm right away.

It is also important to have the correct type of smoke alarm. Photoelectric smoke alarms are more effective at warning of smoke from smoldering fires, while ionization smoke alarms are quicker to inform about free-burning fires. With that in mind, firefighters recommend installing a combination photoelectric/ionization smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside of every bedroom and on each floor of your home.

Knowing what to do in an emergency can mean the difference between life and death, so once your smoke alarms are installed and in good working order, practice evacuating your home. Make sure your family knows two ways out of the house, including from bedrooms. Draw a map to show both exit paths. Push the button on the alarm and let it make its loud warning so that all family members know the sound, then practice exiting the home as if it is an actual emergency. Having a predetermined meeting place once you leave the home will help firefighters quickly know if everyone is out of the house and, if not, where they need to search first. And most importantly, remind your family members that once they are out of the house – they should stay out until fire fighters give the all clear to reenter.

So, when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time, the Ridge VFD encourages you to not only take a few moments to check your smoke and CO alarms, but also to take the extra time to practice fire safety in your home.