Daylight Savings Time begins Sun., March 9

By Debbie Rolen drolen@civitasmedia.com

March 7, 2014

It’s the time of year to “Spring forward” and lose an hour of sleep. Daylight savings time ends this Sunday, March 9, so clocks and watches need to be set ahead one hour.

In addition to changing clocks, this year marks the 26th anniversary of the “Change Your Clock Change Your Battery” program, created by Energizer and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). This program reminds people to check and change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors during the spring time change. Not only is it quick and easy, it could save your life.

Last year, West Virginia’s fire departments responded to over 8,500 fires, over 4,000 of those fires occurred in residences, where most fire deaths take place.

Acting West Virginia State Fire Marshal Anthony Carrico says families are indoors more during cold weather and fires break out. He says if the home has no working smoke alarms, families don’t get the early warning they need to safely escape the fire and his office will be investigating more fire deaths that shouldn’t have happened. “Fires spread so much more quickly than people realize. A working smoke alarm sounding off can literally mean the difference between surviving a fire or becoming a victim.”

Smoke alarms have a wide range of user friendly options, including hush buttons for nuisance alarms, long-life batteries and various types of notification sounds. All smoke alarms should have UL seal (Underwriters Laboratories0 to show they have met recognized safety standards. They should then be installed and maintained according to manufacturers’ directions. They will provide advance warning in case of fire.

Remember these tips about smoke alarms from the State Fire Marshal:

  • Have smoke alarms on every level of your home, especially outside sleeping areas and preferably inside bedrooms.
  • Test them at least once a month and replace batteries when you set your clocks for Daylight Savings Time.
  • Replace all detectors after ten years.
  • Place smoke alarms according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Clean the outside ONLY of a smoke alarm by gently going over the cover with the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner. Never paint a smoke alarm.
  • Whenever a smoke alarm beeps, take it seriously. It might just be a false alarm from cooking, temperature changes or dust — but you can’t afford to ignore the alert. Everyone in the family needs to react immediately.
  • Develop and practice a home escape plan. Make sure your family knows two ways out of each room, a safe meeting place outside, how to call 9-1-1 once they’re out and why they should NEVER go back into a burning house.
  • West Virginia State Code requires all property owners to provide and install a working smoke alarm in the vicinity of the sleeping area.

For more information on smoke alarms and home fire safety, visit http://www.energizer.com/learning-center/Pages/change-a-battery-save-a-life.aspx; www.nfpa.org and www.usfa.fema.gov.