TAYLOR COUNTY—It’s that time of year when the days seem to get longer, and part of that is thanks to Daylight Savings Time, which took place Sunday at 2:00 a.m., when we sprang forward an hour.
Not only does Daylight Savings time allow for more sunlit evening hours, it also provides the perfect opportunity to take small steps to ensure safety.
The West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office and American Red Cross are reminding individuals that it’s the perfect time to avoid the chirp and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Both agencies suggest that batteries be tested once a month, and that they should be changed at least once a year, and the start and end of Daylight Savings time are the perfect time to do so.
The Red Cross said that detectors should be installed on each level of a home. They further reported that smoke detectors should be placed inside bedrooms and in hallways outside of sleeping areas.
According to the fire marshal’s office, the National Fire Protection Association reported that 71 percent of smoke alarms that failed to operate had missing, disconnected or dead batteries.
The Red Cross reports that approximately seven times a day, someone dies in a house fire in the United States.
“A smoke alarm should be replaced immediately if it doesn’t respond properly when tested,” shared Timothy Rock, Public Information Specialist for the fire marshal’s office. “Make sure everyone in the home understand the sound of a smoke alarm and knows how to respond.”
He noted that smoke alarms with nonreplaceable or long-life batteries are designed to remain effective for up to ten years, and do not need replaced unless the unit lets off the chirp, a warning that the battery is low.
“The entire alarm should be replaced right away,” Rock expressed. “For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, the annual replacement of batteries is recommended.”
Rock reported that if home needs smoke detectors, individuals are encouraged to contact the American Red Cross at 1-844-216-8286 to schedule an appointment for a free installation through their Home Fire Campaign. Individuals may also log on to soundthealarm.org/westvirginia to schedule an appointment.
The campaign is a multi-year initiative to help reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Since October 2014, the campaign has helped save lives across the nation. Approximately 1.1 million smoke alarms have been installed nationwide, and over 17,000 of those have been here in West Virginia.
Rock noted that in addition to swapping out batteries, now is a good time to create or update your family’s fire safety plan. Creating and practicing an escape plan, as part of a fire safety plan, is a sure-fire way to ensure your family knows how to respond in the event of a fire.
“Every family should have a fire safety plan,” voiced Rock.
Practicing the plan makes sure that everyone in the family know how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
The American Red Cross also suggests that individuals keep a disaster supply kit in an easy-to-carry bag. These kits can be used at home or on the go in the event of an emergency.
“A household that has prepared is much safer,” shared Jason Keeling, Executive Director for American Red Cross Northeast WV. “A disaster like a home fire can happen anywhere, at any time. We urge people to take some steps now and know what they should do if an emergency occurs.”