Change your clock, change your smoke alarm batteries

By Wayne Allen

November 2, 2013

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

The state Fire Marshals from Ohio and Kentucky are reminding residents that when you change your clock to standard time this weekend, also change the batteries in your smoke alarms.

“This year I’m challenging Ohioans to protect their homes and families through the simple act of changing out their smoke alarms’ batteries. Working smoke alarms and a well-practiced escape plan with two ways out saves lives,” said Larry Flowers, Ohio Fire Marshal.

Flowers said that throughout the state, firefighters often find homes that do not have working smoke alarms.

“Last year, (2012) marked the lowest number of fire deaths in 26 years (for Ohio). Yet data still showed that in an overwhelming majority of incident where there was a fatality, there was not evidence of a working smoke alarm,” Flowers said. “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 with two ways our and make sure every family member knows what to do and where to meet outside if the fire alarm sounds.”

William Swope, director of the Public Protection Cabinet’s Division of Fire Prevention and the state’s fire marshal for Kentucky, said an early warning is the first line of defense in escaping a fire.

“Without a working smoke detector to issue an early warning, occupants can become trapped by deadly smoke and heat as the fire spreads quickly throughout a home, blocking escape routes,” Swope said.

Swope advised this time of year is also a good time to inspect your home heating system.

“According to national statistics, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months. In fact, half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February,” Swope said. “The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that heating equipment was involved in about 57,100 reported home structure fires in 2010, which resulted in 490 civilian deaths, 1,530 injuries and cost more than $1.1 billion in property damage.”

Swope is advising people to follow National Fire Protection Association checklist for a safe cold weather season. The checklist includes:

  • having your furnace inspected and serviced,

  • having your chimneys and vents cleaned and inspected,

  • having your wood for your fireplace and wood stove dry,

  • having a fireplace screen that is metal or heat-tempered glass and in good condition and secure in its position in front of the fireplace,
  • having a covered metal container ready to use to dispose of cooled ashes; and,

  • Make sure your children know to stay at least three feet away from the fireplace, wood/pellet stove, oil stove or other space heaters.

For more information on fire prevention, visit the National Fire Protection Association website at www.nfpa.org/safety-information or visit www.com.ohio.gov/fire.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.