The City of Batavia Fire Department is joining nearly 6,000 fire departments nationwide in promoting the annual Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries campaign on Sunday, Nov. 2.
Fire Prevention Officer Lt. Jeff Whitcombe encourages all residents to adopt the simple, lifesaving habit of changing smoke alarm batteries along with the batteries in carbon monoxide (CO) detectors when they change their clocks back from daylight savings time to standard time.
“It’s an easy, inexpensive and proven way to protect your family and your home,” Whitcombe said.
Since 1987 the International Association of Fire Chiefs has joined forces with Energizer batteries to spread the message that non-working smoke alarms are responsible for needless death and injuries. Now 27 years later, thanks to the change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries campaign, home fire deaths continue to decline.
Recent surveys conducted for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Consumer Products Safety Commission found that 96 percent of all homes have at least one smoke alarm, but only 75 percent have at least one working smoke alarm. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing or dead batteries or disconnected wires. The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are sleeping. A working smoke alarm can provide the critical extra seconds needed to get people out safely.
According to the NFPA, the maximum life cycle of a smoke alarms and CO detectors is 10 years from the date of manufacture, not the date of installation. Beginning in 2002, all smoke detectors must have a manufacture date marked on the outside of the smoke alarm. If your smoke alarm does not have a manufacture date, then it is older than 10 years and must be replaced. The City of Batavia Fire Department recommends purchasing smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries. All smoke and CO alarms should be tested monthly.
Along with working smoke alarms and CO detectors, home escape plans are another way families can avoid injury or death in their homes. By identifying at least two different escape routes, families can practice the plan together – before an emergency strikes. Practicing the plan helps educate younger children to the danger of hazardous situations and the importance of recognizing that the sound of a smoke alarm or CO detector signals a potential hazard in the home.
“Changing the battery in your smoke alarms and CO detectors, along with developing and practicing a home escape plan, are three of the best ways to protect your loved ones and yourself from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning,” Whitcombe said.
The City of Batavia Fire Department has a free smoke alarm and battery installation program.
“We have installed hundreds of smoke alarms and batteries over the past 20 years and will continue to do so until everyone who needs them has them,” Whitcombe said.
For information about the free smoke alarm and battery installation program, City of Batavia residents should contact the City of Batavia Fire Department at (585) 345-6375.