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A change can save your life

Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm

By the Lincoln County Volunteer Fire Department

Daylight savings time will end on Sunday, Nov. 4. The Lincoln County Volunteer Fire Department wants to remind you to make a change that could save your life and the lives of your loved ones: change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Every year, preventable fires kill people nationwide, and Tennessee has one of the highest fire death rates in the nation. Non-working smoke alarms offer a false sense of protection to residents and place them at risk for death or serious injury from unwanted fires in the home.

The most commonly cited cause of non-working smoke alarms is dead or missing batteries. According to the International Association of Fire Chiefs, 38 percent of fatal fire injuries occur in homes without working smoke alarms, while 24 percent occur in homes in which at least one smoke alarm is present but fails to operate, frequently due to dead or missing batteries.

Changing smoke alarm batteries at least twice per year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. A working smoke alarm reduces the risk of dying in a home fire by almost half. Additionally, the Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association recommends replacing your smoke alarms every 10 years.

To save lives and prevent needless injuries, the Lincoln County Volunteer Fire Department urges you to “Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery” in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Most home fire fatalities occur between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping. According to Fire Chief Mike Hall, “A working smoke alarm is ‘on-duty’ all the time, protecting you and your family while you sleep.”

Replacing the batteries in your smoke alarms is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. If your smoke alarm is more than 10 years old, you should replace the alarm with a new one. Residents should install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms on each level of a home, including the basement, and smoke detectors should be placed outside and inside sleeping areas. A working smoke alarm can give your family the extra seconds you need to get out of a home fire safely.

In addition, the Lincoln County Volunteer Fire Department recommends residents use the “extra” hour they save from the time change to test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors by pushing the test button, planning “two ways out” and practicing escape routes with the entire family. Families should also prepare a fire safety kit that includes working flashlights and fresh batteries.