WHEN YOU CHANGE YOUR CLOCK, CHANGE YOUR BATTERY IN YOUR SMOKE ALARM ON NOVEMBER 4TH
As the time change approaches on Sunday, November 4, the Titusville Fire and Emergency Services Department wants to remind residents to make another change that could save their lives--changing the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. 2007 marks the 20th year the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Energizer batteries and Titusville Fire and Emergency Services Department have been helping save lives through the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery program.
Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce deaths and injuries. In fact, working smoke alarms nearly cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire. Adopt a simple, livesaving habit: change your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries when your change your clocks back to standard time in the fall, this year on November 4.
"The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping," says Titusville's Interim Fire Chief Scott Gaenicke. "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 gives them the extra seconds they need to get out safely." In addition, Chief Gaenicke recommends residents use the "extra" hour they save from the time change to test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors by pushing the test buttom, planning "two ways out" and practicing escape routes with the entire family. If the home's battery-operated smoke detector has been in use 10 or more years, the International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends replacing the smoke alarm. Even though the alarm may sound when the test button is employed, comprehensive laboratory and field testing has shown that battery-operated smoke alarms over 10 years in age become less reliable in warning of the presence of smoke.
SMOKE ALARM NEGLECT
Nationwide, the mounting issue of non-functioning smoke alarms is of increasing concern to fire officials. Less than one-fourth of U.S. homes had smoke alarms in 1977, but increased smoke alarm usage played a major role in the nearly 50 percent drop in home fire deaths since that time. Today, 96% of American homes have smoke alarms--but, 19% don't work, mostly because of dead or missing batteries. This means roughly 25 million homes are at risk due to non-working smoke alarms and another 4.5 million homes are at risk because of the lack of any smoke alarms at all. This prevents the U.S. from achieving the full potential of increased fire safety from smoke alarms.
In the U.S., roughly 80% of fire deaths result from fires in homes without working smoke alarms. Half of the home fire deaths resulted from fires in the small percentage of homes (5%) without any smoke alarms. This is truly alarming because statistics indicate 83% of all civilian fire-related deaths are a result of home fires.
Titusville fire officials urge you to change more than just your clocks on Nov. 4--change your risk of becoming a statistic. Change the batteries in your smoke alarms and, if you don't have smoke alarms or if they are more than 10 years old, purchase and install new smoke alarms.