Alaska State Fire Marshal David Tyler is reminding Alaskans to check the batteries in their smoke and CO (carbon monoxide) alarms when they change their clock for Daylight Savings Time this Sunday, March 11. Operating smoke and CO alarms can give Alaskans the precious time needed to exit the home in case of a devastating fire or carbon monoxide emergency.
Many homes have smoke and CO alarms with batteries that should be replaced annually. Daylight Savings Time can serve as a reminder to check smoke and CO alarms and change the batteries. With the development of long-life lithium battery powered alarms, the batteries have a life span of up to 10 years, so you may not need to replace this type of battery as often. The National Fire Protection Association suggests that 90% of American homes are equipped with smoke alarms but over 50% of them are not in working condition.
From 2005 to 2011, seventeen Alaskan children under the age of 15 lost their lives in thirteen fire incidents. An expert committee reviewing twelve of the thirteen incidents found that lack of a working smoke alarm, adult negligence, or adult substance abuse definitely or probably contributed to eleven of the twelve incidents (92%). Working smoke alarms could have made a difference in many of these devastating incidents.
“Take a few minutes to check, test and clean your smoke and CO alarms to make sure they are functioning properly, and what better time to do this than when you change your clock for Daylight Savings Time”, Tyler said. It is important to remember that manufacturer’s guidelines for smoke and CO alarm installation, testing, cleaning, and replacing batteries should be followed. However, general recommendations can be found at The Alaska Division of Fire and Life Safety web site: burny.alaska.gov .
Tyler adds, “Fire safe behavior can keep a fire from starting. Working smoke alarms, planning and practicing your fire escape plan and adding residential fire suppression sprinklers can ensure your family’s safety from a fire.”