Spring ahead – fall back. Funny how hard that is to remember every year when you are talking about Daylight Savings Time. So here is your first notification – you are going to be losing an hour this weekend. Daylight Savings Time kicks in on Saturday night, or to be really technical – Sunday at 2 a.m. and rather than being upset about that hour you lose when you set your clocks forward, the Red Cross wants to recommend a safer, smarter way to spend your time.
They suggest you use the time to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms. The common 9-volt batteries in most smoke alarms generally last six months, so it’s good to replace them twice a year. The “spring forward” and “fall back” time changes are a good time to do it.
Debbie Smith, community executive of the Ohio River Valley American Red Cross, says if you don’t have smoke alarms or your smoke alarms are more than 10 years old, call the Red Cross at 740-354-3293 and set up an appointment to have them come to your home and install them for free.
They also suggest you spend 15 minutes going over your family fire drill. You generally have as little as two minutes to escape a home fire. That’s not a lot of time when you’re trying to find your way through thick, black smoke and flames. Make sure everyone in your house knows two ways to get out of every room, and where to meet once out of the house. Remember, get out, stay out and then call 911, and, if your children aren’t tired of monsters yet, have them download the Red Cross Monster Guard app, which teaches kids how to prepare for real-life emergencies through a fun and engaging game.
“The fastest way to escape a home that’s on fire is to actually know that it’s on fire,” Smith said. “And the fastest way to know that it’s on fire is with a smoke alarm. This is the perfect time to make sure yours is in good working order.”
Even if that doesn’t make you feel safer and happier, completing all of these tasks should take you no more than 30 minutes tops, meaning you won’t be losing too much sleep. And you’ll sleep better knowing you’re safe.
The Red Cross is a name synonymous with helping families during fires.
“ORV responded to 231 disaster in 2016, and helped 747 individuals and families with emergency food, shelter, clothing and other immediate needs. Often individuals affected by a home fire have lost everything so we are there to help provide financial assistance and give individuals the tools they need to fully recover from a disaster.” Smith told the Daily Times. “Of the disasters we responded to in the past year more than 90 percent are from home fires. That is why our Home Fire Campaign is so important. Our goal is simple – to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by ensuring that everyone has free smoke alarms.”
The Ohio River Valley Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross has taught lifesaving skills, and provided disaster prevention, relief and recovery services to the Ohio River Valley since 1917. For more information, you can visit RedCross.org or follow us on Twitter at @ORVRedCross or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ORVRedCross.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.