By Wayne Allen
Daylight savings time is set to end on Sunday, November 1 at 2 a.m., taking the clocks back one hour. During this time of change, the American Red Cross is encouraging people to check the batteries in smoke detectors, when they fix their clocks.
“The Red Cross feels, when you change your time, it’s the perfect time to also change the batteries in your smoke detectors,” Debbie Smith, community executive of the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, said. “A smoke detector can make a huge difference; it can save a life.”
In attempt to raise awareness and save lives, the Red Cross has a program that helps people install smoke detectors in homes.
“If people don’t have a smoke detector, they can contact us here at the Red Cross,” Smith said.
The Red Cross has launched a campaign throughout the United States to reduce home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years.
Earlier this month, the Ohio Department of Commerce announced a Safe and Sound campaign aimed at reducing fires and fire deaths in Ohio.
The department estimates that there have been roughly 97 fire deaths throughout the state in 2015.
“That’s 97 too many. Regardless of age, background or where we live, these deadly fires could affect any one of us,”Jacqueline Williams, director of the Ohio Department of Commerce, said. “Until we come together to prevent these tragedies, this number will only continue to climb.”
The Safe and Sound campaign will target fires caused by heat sources in the winter months. The campaign will educate Ohioans of the dangers and risks for these fires. The state fire marshal’s office will work with local fire departments to get out into communities and make an impact on reducing fire fatality numbers.
Smith also said now is a good time for families to create, go over, or make changes to your home disaster plan.
The Red Cross has developed a three step process to get a family prepared; this process includes having a kit of supplies that can be taken with you in case your home has to be evacuated.
“Meet with members of your household and discuss what emergencies could occur in your home, taking into account what type of disasters could happen in your neighborhood. Plan what steps everyone should take if something happens,” the Red Cross advises.
Be informed, “learn what emergencies can occur in your area and how officials will notify you should a disaster occur. Know the difference between weather watches and warnings. Tell others what you have learned so they can be ready too.”
For more information about the American Red Cross, and its local chapter, visit them at 1801 Robinson Ave. in Portsmouth or visit www.redcross.org/oh/portsmouth.
To learn more about preventing and preparing for a fire, visit www.com.ohio.gov/fire.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT