Daylight saving time ends Sunday, Nov. 6, and the American Red Cross reminds everyone to "Turn and Test" - turn their clocks back an hour and test the batteries in their smoke alarms.
The beginning and end of daylight saving time offer reminders to check batteries in smoke detectors.
The NFPA reports that working smoke alarms reduce by half the risk of dying in a home fire. And the reason nearly 71% of those smoke alarms failed to operate was because they had missing, disconnected or dead batteries.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have an expiration date, which is usually on the back of the detector.
But do most people know how old their smoke alarm is?
Missing or disconnected batteries were the cause of nearly half of the smoke alarms that didn't operate in a fire, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. That means pushing your clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night.
· Equip your home with multiple smoke alarms in all the bedrooms, outside of each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement. Unfortunately, approximately two-thirds of all fire deaths occur in homes where there are no working smoke alarms. Your alarms need new batteries every year to work properly.
· Dead batteries caused 24 percent of the smoke alarm failures.
A frequently found situation with older smoke alarms is where someone has "borrowed" a battery from an alarm, rendering the device useless. "When they're interconnected if one alarm goes off every alarm in your house is going to go off".
The Firemen's Association of the State of NY adds the suggestion to clean smoke detectors while you're changing the battery, removing any dust or debris that could impede their function. These types of detectors may not require a battery change for the life of the unit.
"As temperatures begin to drop, we traditionally see an uptick in home fires around the holidays". You request a smoke detector and they will schedule one of the crews in your area to come and install one free of charge.
Test detectors at least once a month and check the batteries every six months. More information about fire safety and the fire service is available online at www.osfc.pa.gov or www.facebook.com/PAOSFC.
Smoke detectors save lives, but only if they are working.