State Fire Marshal encourages replacing batteries in smoke alarms

PIERRE, S.D. (HubCityRadio) – Before changing your clocks Saturday night, South Dakota’s State Fire Marshal encourages people to also change the batteries in their smoke alarms.

Daylight Saving Time starts at 2 a.m. local time Sunday morning. That means pushing clocks back one hour.

Fire Marshal Paul Merriman says this is also a good time to change the batteries in the smoke alarms. He says the alarms can save lives.

“Nationally, three of every five home fire deaths result from fires in homes that either had no working smoke alarms or none at all,” said Merriman. “The United States Fire Administration says the chances of dying in a home fire can be cut in half in homes that have working smoke alarms.”

Merriman said the same goes with carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, Merriman says CO can kill before people are aware that it is in their home.

Residents can check their smoke or carbon monoxide alarms by pushing the test button on the alarm. Merriman said if the alarm doesn’t sound, the batteries should be replaced.

“Testing those alarms is a very easy thing to do,” he says. “By making sure the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working in your home, you could protect your family from a tragic incident.”

Additional fire safety tips include:

• At least once a month, press the test button on the smoke alarm. If the alarm does not work, it might be the batteries or the alarm itself.

• For maximum protection, install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home.

• Smoke alarms lose sensitivity over time and should be replaced periodically.  They are usually good for about 10 years.

• Make sure your family has an emergency exit plan in case there is a fire in the home. If your family doesn’t have a plan, this is a good time to develop one.

*Overnight guests should know the home’s exit routes before going to bed.

The Fire Marshal’s Office is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.