Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 10th. As you turn your clocks forward, Acting Chief Tim Keen, of the Prince William County Fire and Rescue System, would like to remind residents to change the battery in your smoke alarms. "When properly installed and maintained, working smoke alarms save lives and protect against injury and loss due to fire. They play a vital role in one's home fire escape plan by providing an early warning allowing individuals time to escape a home fire. You double your chances of surviving a home fire with working smoke alarms compared to homes without working smoke alarms", states Chief Keen.
To keep you and your family safe follow these life-saving smoke alarm tips:
- A closed door may slow the spread of heat and fire.
- Place a smoke alarm on every level of your home, including the basement, in every bedroom and outside each sleeping area.
- Test smoke alarms monthly by pushing the test button. If you cannot reach the button easily, use a broom handle.
- When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
- DO NOT remove the batteries from your smoke alarms to put in other appliances.
- Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years or sooner if they don't respond when testing:
- For smoke alarms with a non-replaceable battery, replace the entire smoke alarm if it begins chirping.
- For smoke alarms with regular batteries, replace the batteries once a year when you change your clocks (fall back, spring forward), or before if the battery starts to chirp.
- Smoke alarms should be inter-connected, so when one alarm sounds, they all do.
- Keep smoke alarms clean. Vacuum or dust your smoke alarms according to manufacturer's directions to keep them working properly.
- Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do in the event it sounds.
If a smoke alarm sounds during activities that emit large amounts of steam, such as taking a shower or cooking, DO NOT remove or disable the battery. Instead:
- Open a window or door and press the "hush" button,
- Wave a towel at the alarm to clear the air, or
- Move the entire alarm several feet away from the location.
Smoke Alarms for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
The deaf and hard of hearing community are in need of special designed smoke alarms. It's also vital they're aware of the importance of a proper home fire escape plan. For more information on smoke alarms for the deaf and hard of hearing, contact the Hearing and Loss Association of America at 301-657-2248 or visit http://www.hearingloss.org/.
Additional Safety Tips
When changing the batteries in your smoke alarm, change the batteries in your NOAA All Hazard/Weather Radio. Hazardous weather conditions can develop at any time – Be Prepared! Preparation is your best defense!
For more information on smoke alarm safety and how to prevent home fires, visit the National Fire Protection Association www.nfpa.org and the U.S. Fire Administration www.usfa.fema.gov.