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March 10, 2017

VT Fire Safety Press Release - Change Detector Batteries This Weekend

STATE OF VERMONT

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

DIVISION OF FIRE SAFETY

PRESS RELEASE

 

March 10, 2017

 

Contact: VT Division of Fire Safety, 1-800-640-2106

 

CHANGE YOUR CLOCK, CHANGE YOUR BATTERY:

REMIND FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND NEIGHBORS TO PRACTICE SIMPLE LIFESAVING ACTIVITIES.

 

Berlin, -- It’s time to turn the clocks ahead and lose an hour of sleep this weekend as Daylight Saving Time kicks in at 2:00 a.m. Sunday (March 12).  This occasion is traditionally also a good time for everyone to take a few simple steps to make sure their household is prepared for a fire emergency. 

 

Men and women of the Vermont Fire Service and the Vermont Division of Fire Safety encourage participation in the annual Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery Program. The program urges all Vermonters to adopt a simple lifesaving exercise: changing your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm batteries when you change your clocks to Daylight Savings Time.

 

“The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping,” says Division of Fire Safety Director Michael Desrochers. “Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely.”

 

Director Desrochers also recommends residents test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms by pushing the test button, replacing old outdated alarms, planning “two ways out” of the house, and practicing escape routes with the entire family.

 

To save lives and prevent needless injuries, the Division of Fire Safety and local fire officials recommend the following safety measures:

 

-Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Checking alarm batteries at least once per month is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce deaths and injuries. Non-working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms rob residents of the protective benefits those home fire safety devices were designed to provide.

The most commonly cited cause of non-working alarms is worn-out or missing batteries.

 

-Don’t wait, check the date

If you have an alarm that is over 10 years old, it needs to be replaced. Remember, even if you have a new smoke alarm with a 10-year battery, or “wired in” smoke and CO alarms you should test them at least once per month. If you notice an intermittent Chirping sound, this means the battery is low and must be replaced.  When you replace old alarms, it’s recommended that you use a photoelectric type detector that provides early warning in a smoldering type of fire.

 

-Observe proper Installation practices

Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas and inside bedrooms.

Smoke and CO alarms should be installed and maintained per the manufacturer's instructions.

Smoke rises, so the ideal location for a smoke alarm is on the ceiling – in the center of the room is best. If you need to mount it on a wall it should be no fewer than 4 inches or no more than 12 inches below the ceiling.

Install and maintain CO alarms outside each separate sleeping area, on every level of the home. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.

If you need additional assistance or cannot afford alarms, contact your local fire department, the American Red Cross, or call Vermont 2-1-1 to find out about smoke alarm installation programs in your community.

 

-Practice Escape 

To escape a house on fire; first maintain working smoke and CO alarms in your home, and second; have a plan detailing how you will escape your home in a fire.  Once an alarm goes off in your home, members of the household should react by using your pre-planned escape route to exit safely from a fire. Know your escape plan before a fire happens.

Draw a simple floor plan of your home, showing two ways out of each room. Ensure all household members understand the escape routes from the plan. Make sure routes are clear, and that the doors and windows on the route can be opened properly.

Practice your escape plan at least twice a year with your household members. Agree on a meeting place outside where everyone can meet after exiting the home. (This will allow for a head count and allow the arriving fire fighters to gain information about possible missing members, and the fire inside.)

 

For more information or additional fire safety assistance visit www.firesafety.vermont.gov or contact your local fire department.