The state of Ohio participates in a public education program called “Change your Clocks, Change your Batteries,” in which the state, along with local fire departments, encourage people to change smoke detector batteries at least twice a year - at the beginning and end of daylight-saving time.
According to Ohio State Fire Marshal Stephen Woltz, 89 percent of victims who died in Ohio fires were found in homes where there was either no smoke detector or a non-functioning detector. Woltz also said that one smoke detector can double a person's chance of escape in the event of a fire.
“You should at least change your batteries once a year, and it really wouldn't hurt if you did it twice a year because you don't know how long the batteries have been laying on the shelf,” said New Boston Fire Chief Chris Bender. “There have been a few cases of people taking the battery out of them, because when they're cooking the alarm keeps going off. They've also taken them out to put them in their remote controls.”
The Village of New Boston also has a smoke detector program, in which the State Fire Marshal provides them with smoke detectors that they will give to residents of the village, and even install them if need be, all for free.
Bender stresses the importance of keeping your detector clear of dust, and testing your detector, as well as developing a safety plan with your family.
Assistant Chief Bruce Adkins of the Portsmouth Fire Department adds that keeping doors in the house closed are a good way to protect against fire and smoke, because it compartmentalizes the home and helps slow the spread of the smoke and fire throughout the rest of the home.
Smoke detectors should be tested once each month to ensure that they are working properly, and homeowners should vacuum the dust from inside their detector at least once every year.
The State Fire Marshall also discourages against “borrowing” a smoke detector battery for another device, and detectors themselves should be replaced every ten years.
Residents of the New Boston area interested in obtaining free smoke detectors can contact the New Boston Fire Department at (740) 456-4107.