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Area Residents Urged To Check Smoke Alarms

The end of daylight saving means it’s time to inspect your smoke alarm.

The changing of clocks — which this year is Sunday at 2 a.m. — is typically used by various fire and aid organizations to remind the public to check smoke alarms and other devices. Organizations that have released safety tips include the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York and the American Red Cross.

Specifically, FASNY encourages renters and homeowners to inspect their smoke alarms and install devices equipped with sealed-in, non-removable batteries that last for 10 years.

“These alarms do not require any battery changes during their lifespan and are nearly impossible to disable,” FASNY said in a statement. “FASNY also encourages the installation of home fire sprinklers, which dramatically reduce civilian fire deaths and injuries, as well as protecting the responding firefighters.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or working smoke alarms.

“Firefighters frequently encounter smoke alarms with missing or dead batteries, meaning these homes are defenseless against fire,” FASNY said. “The fall time change provides an opportunity for families to take a few moments to check their smoke alarms and ensure they are in proper working order.”

FASNY noted that most fatal fires occur between midnight and 8 a.m.

“New York State has already experienced a tragic year for fire deaths,” said FASNY President Steven E. Klein. “This is particularly disturbing considering that winter, the busiest time of the year for home fires, has yet to truly arrive. Installing and maintaining working smoke alarms, particularly smoke alarms with 10-year batteries, is the most important thing people can do to protect themselves and their families. Taking a few minutes to inspect and install smoke alarms now could be the difference between tragedy and survival.”

The local chapter of the American Red Cross is also using the end of daylight saving time as a remind to test smoke alarms. In a statement, the Red Cross said the beginning of fall makes the ideal time to inspect devices, noting that cooler weather increases the risk of fatal home fires. Heating equipment is the second most common cause of fatalities from home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“The Red Cross wants everyone to stay safe this winter,” said Kenneth J. Turner, American Red Cross, Western and Central New York interim regional CEO. “This weekend, please take time to ‘turn and test’ to protect you and your family against the season’s life-threatening risk of home fires.”

According to the local Red Cross, volunteers responded to 866 fires between July 1, 2017, to June 30 of this year.

Tips from FASNY and the Red Cross include:

¯ Check smoke alarm batteries. When turning the clocks back, take a few minutes to replace the smoke alarm batteries if needed and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working. It’s also a great time to check carbon monoxide detectors.

¯ Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.

¯ Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, in each bedroom and near all sleeping areas.

¯ If you have an alarm with a removable battery, be sure to check the batteries every six months, and change the batteries every year. If a battery is starting to lose its power, the unit will usually chirp to warn you. Do NOT disable the unit.

¯ Practice an escape plan. Make sure everyone in the household knows two ways to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.

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