State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers is reminding Ohioans to make a potentially lifesaving change when they move their clocks back on Sunday, November 6: Change the batteries in your smoke alarms! 

The Ohio Department of Commerce Division of State Fire Marshal and local fire departments across the state encourage Ohioans to make it a habit to change the batteries in their smoke alarms at least twice a year – at the beginning and end of daylight savings time. Smoke alarms save lives and can cut the risk of dying in a fire by half.

“The facts speak clearly – only a working smoke alarm can save your life,” said Marshal Flowers.  “Ohioans can greatly reduce tragic fire deaths and injuries by performing the simple task of replacing smoke alarm batteries.  By taking the time to change the batteries and by testing them monthly, you are doing more to affect the fire safety of your family and home than any other action you could take.”

“Ohio continues to experience far too many preventable fire-related injuries and deaths in homes without smoke alarms,” said Marshal Flowers. Firefighters still find that smoke alarms, which typically retail for less than $10, are often not present in homes or are not functional. The statistics are sobering. Through November 3, 2011, 94 people have died in 77 fatal residential fires reported to the Division of State Fire Marshal. Smoke alarms were confirmed present in 26 (34%) of those fires and functioning in only 7 (9%) of the incidents.

Smoke alarms, when properly installed and maintained, provide early warning when fire occurs.  For the greatest protection, install a smoke detector on every level of your home and inside each sleeping area.  Also, develop an escape plan and make sure every family member knows what to do if the smoke alarm does sound.

Test smoke alarms at least once each month to ensure that they are working properly.  Vacuum the dust from inside the detector at least once every year.  Batteries in battery-operated alarms should be changed twice a year or whenever a detector “chirps” to signal low battery power.  Never “borrow” a smoke detector’s battery for another use. A disabled detector cannot save your life.  In addition, smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years or according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

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