Daylight saving time began Sunday, and in addition to setting your clocks forward, did you also check your smoke alarms? The Missouri Department of Public Safety, Fire Division says the time changes in fall and spring serve as great reminders to replace batteries, make sure detectors still work, and install more detectors around the house.
State Fire Marshal Jim Bean says although 9-volt batteries usually last longer than the 6-month period between clock resets, a simple check could save your life.
“We’ve already worked 24 fire deaths this year in our state so far,” says Bean. “In all of these cases, we find either that the alarms weren’t working, or they didn’t have any at all.”
According to Bean, this number of deaths is a concern to the fire division, as it’s higher than it has been in a long time. This is not the total number of deaths resulting from fire across the state; the Department of Fire Safety only conducts investigations when asked by Missouri fire departments.
Bean says you can check a smoke alarm siren by pushing the test button and making sure it sounds loud and clear. Missourians are encouraged to consider buying a newly manufactured, ten-year life smoke alarm, which can be bought at any big-box or hardware store.
Carbon monoxide alarms should also be installed or checked along with smoke alarms. Households should have these properly installed if gas appliances or heat are used, such as propane or natural gas.
“One of the smartest investments that you can make for your family or yourself is to invest in a smoke alarm for your home,” says Bean.
If you need assistance with smoke alarm maintenance, you can call your local American Red Cross agent for a home assessment.