Remember to spring for new batteries, save lives

By Rick Ferrell Fire Prevention Office, Security and Emergency Services, DLA Installation Operations

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Springing forward shouldn’t be the only thing on your mind as we begin Daylight Saving Time at 2 a.m. this Sunday, March 10.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the smoke detectors in your home might just be the most important piece of safety equipment you own, but sadly they are often the least maintained. You can do many things to ensure you and your family are safely using smoke detectors:

Remember to spring for new batteries, save lives
Fire Inspectors Kevin Gordon (left) and Daryhl Page, with Defense Logistics Agency Installation Operations Richmond’s Fire Prevention Office reset a clock and change batteries in preparation for the beginning of Daylight Saving Time at 2 a.m. March 10, 2019. (Courtesy Photo)
Remember to spring for new batteries, save lives
Remember to spring for new batteries, save lives
Fire Inspectors Kevin Gordon (left) and Daryhl Page, with Defense Logistics Agency Installation Operations Richmond’s Fire Prevention Office reset a clock and change batteries in preparation for the beginning of Daylight Saving Time at 2 a.m. March 10, 2019. (Courtesy Photo)
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
VIRIN: 181031-D-D0441-0001

  • Ensure that your smoke detectors are current: most only have a 10-year life expectancy and should be replaced at regular intervals.

  • Test smoke detectors at least monthly and change the batteries at regular intervals (minimum of twice a year).

  • Install smoke detectors in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including basements and accessible attic spaces.                                        

  • Do not cover or paint over smoke detectors.

    Today all residential structures are required to have a working smoke detector. However, USFA statistics show only 74 percent of residential structure fires in the United States had a smoke detector present; and, these detectors operated at a rate of 88 percent. Fatalities in residential fires in the U.S. can be attributed to several factors, to include:

  • No detectors were present in the room where the fire started.

  • Residents tried to combat the fire unsuccessfully and succumbed to smoke inhalation.

  • Detectors were disabled and/or more than 15 years old.

  • There were no working smoke detectors in the structure.

Occupants have a 54 percent greater chance of surviving a fire in their home with a working detector than if there were no detector present. Smoke detectors save lives when they are installed and properly maintained.

What can you do to ensure that your home will be safe in the event of a fire?

  • Plan and practice your emergency evacuation ahead of time.

  • Do not try to fight large fires with heavy smoke present; leave the area instead.

  • Keep flammables stored securely away from sources of flame and out of reach of children.

  • When a fire does occur, leave the room and close the door to slow the spread of fire.

  • Call 911 immediately.

Remember to spring for new batteries, save lives
Statistics provided by a National Fire Protection Association fact sheet showing smoke alarms sounded in more than half of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments. (Courtesy Graphic)
Remember to spring for new batteries, save lives
Remember to spring for new batteries, save lives
Statistics provided by a National Fire Protection Association fact sheet showing smoke alarms sounded in more than half of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments. (Courtesy Graphic)
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
VIRIN: 190307-D-D0441-0001
In the event of a fire, remember to GET OUT and STAY OUT— never reenter the structure. Call the fire department immediately using a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone, and stay outside until the fire department tells you it is safe to return.

Daylight Saving Time is a great time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. This year, Daylight Saving Time starts at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10, when clocks are set ahead one hour. After you change your clocks, take time to replace the smoke alarm batteries and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working. If you have any questions about fire safety at work or at home, contact the Fire Prevention Office, Security and Emergency Services, DLA Installation Operations Richmond at 804-279-6782.