Daylight Saving Time for 2019 is coming to a close. This weekend, our clock will “fall back,” allowing for the perceived extra hour of sleep and ushering in the long, cold stretch of shorter days.
Some love this time of year. Some hate it. But what everyone should be able to agree upon is that the end of Daylight Saving Time, as with the beginning in the spring, offers a perfect and consistent reminder that it’s time to change the batteries in smoke alarms.
Smoke alarms save lives. There is no debating that fact, and the National Fire Protection Association spells it out clearly.
According to the NFPA, nearly 40 percent of home fire deaths between 2012 and 2016 occurred is homes with no smoke alarms, and another 17 percent occurred in homes with non-functioning smoke alarms. The death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have working smoke alarms as in homes with working alarms.
Some more important statistics from the NFPA to consider is that smoke alarms were present in 74 percent of homes over that same time frame and they sounded in just 53 percent of instances of home fires reported to U.S. fire departments. The NFPA reports that in fires where smoke alarms were present, but did not operate, more than 40 percent of the alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Additionally, dead batteries caused 25 percent of smoke alarm failures.
So, those numbers paint a picture that is simple to understand and interpret, and that is a picture of smoke alarms saving lives. If you have a fire in your residence and you have a working smoke alarm, you are much more likely to survive that fire if you have working smoke alarms installed. And it’s imperative that you keep fresh batteries in your smoke alarms.
It’s easy to lose track of when you last changed your smoke alarm batteries. They’re devices we install on our ceilings and, oftentimes, forget about until they inadvertently become unwitting cooking timers. That’s where Daylight Saving Time comes in as a faithful reminder.
“Change the batteries when you change your clock!” says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Make it a habit that any time the time changes, so do the batteries in your smoke alarms. It’s a simple rule to live by, and it could form a habit that could save the lives of you and those you love.
And if you don’t have smoke alarms or are having trouble refreshing your smoke alarms’ batteries, contact your local fire department. Those who serve our communities are usually happy to come out and assist in making your home safer. And sometimes, they may have extra smoke alarms they may be able to give you. Just give them a call. See what they can do for you.
More than 360,000 residential fires occur every year and far too many of those end in a tragic loss of life. Take fire safety seriously and change those batteries when you change your clocks. It’s a change you can live with.