Changing clocks, changing batteries

In a release sent to media across Ohio, State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers is reminding Ohioans to make a potentially lifesaving change when they move their clocks forward one hour on Sunday – for most of us, before we go to bed Saturday night – change the batteries in your smoke alarms while you’re springing ahead.

In conjunction with Ohio’s fire departments, the Division of State Fire Marshal encourages Ohioans to make a habit of changing the batteries in their smoke detectors at least twice a year at the beginning and end of daylight savings time.

“Last year marked the lowest number of fire-related deaths in Ohio in 27 years,” said Marshal Flowers. “But this is not ‘Mission Accomplished.’ This year I’m challenging Ohioans to protect their homes and families through the simple act of changing out their smoke alarms’ batteries. We know that working smoke alarms and a well-practiced escape plan with two ways out save lives.”

Marshal Flowers said firefighters still find that smoke alarms are often not present in homes or are not functional. Data shows that in an overwhelming majority of incidents where there was a fatality, there was no evidence of a working smoke alarm.

Smoke alarms, when properly installed and maintained, provide early warning when fire occurs. For the greatest protection, install a smoke detector on every level of your home and inside each sleeping area. Also, develop an escape plan with two ways out and make sure every family member knows what to do and where to meet outside if the fire alarm sounds.

Marshal Flowers offers these additional tips:

– Test smoke alarms at least once each month to ensure that they are working properly.

– Vacuum the dust from inside the detector at least once every year.

– Never “borrow” a smoke detector’s battery for another use.

– Change batteries twice a year or if a detector “chirps” to signal low battery power.

– If you have a smoke alarm with a built-in 10-year battery, and it was installed before February 28, 2004, completely replace the unit this weekend.

For more information about smoke alarms and fire safety tips, visit ?You can also contact your local fire department. Local firefighters are always willing to offer guidance to residents.