Saturday, October 25, 2014

Time to change clocks, batteries

By The Herald Staff | 3/8/2013

It nearly is time to “spring forward” and local fire officials are urging residents to not only change their clocks, but their batteries.

The Daylight Saving Time change comes 2 a.m. Sunday, with homes, businesses and government offices expected to bump the time up an hour, bringing “later” sunrises and sunsets as the seasons switch. The Ottawa Fire Department also is encouraging residents to make time for another change — changing the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

It nearly is time to “spring forward” and local fire officials are urging residents to not only change their clocks, but their batteries.

The Daylight Saving Time change comes 2 a.m. Sunday, with homes, businesses and government offices expected to bump the time up an hour, bringing “later” sunrises and sunsets as the seasons switch. The Ottawa Fire Department also is encouraging residents to make time for another change — changing the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

“Changing smoke alarm batteries twice a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce [fire-related] tragic deaths and injuries,” the fire department said in a press release. “In fact, working smoke alarms nearly cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire.”

The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years.

“The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., when most families are sleeping,” Jeff Carner, Ottawa fire chief, said. “Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely.”

On average, two children die each day in home fires, and 80 percent of those occur in homes without working smoke alarms, according to the press release. The most commonly cited cause of non-working smoke alarms: worn or missing batteries.

“Having smoke detectors with dead batteries is no different than having no smoke detectors at all,” Doug Jorgensen, Kansas state fire marshal, said. “When you turn back your clocks, take the time to protect your family by changing the batteries on your smoke detectors and testing them to make sure they are in proper working order.”

Kansans are urged to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home, including in the basement, Jorgensen said.

Carner also recommended testing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors by pushing the test button, planning “two ways out” and practicing escape routes with the entire family. Free smoke alarms for Franklin County residents are available from the Ottawa Fire Department. Call (785) 229-3700 for more information.

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