Farmington Hills Fire: Change your clock, battery on Nov. 4

The Farmington Hills Fire Department joins nearly 6,000 fire departments nationwide in promoting the annual Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery campaign on Sunday, November 4, 2018.

Farmington Hills free smoke alarm program
Administrative Staff Lt. James Neufeld holds one of the free smoke alarms the department offers. (City of Farmington Hills)

Deputy Fire Chief Jason Olszewski encourages all residents to adopt the simple, life-saving habit of changing smoke alarm batteries when they change their clocks back from daylight savings time to standard time.

“It’s an easy, inexpensive, and proven way to protect your family and your home,” he said.

Since 1987, the International Association of Fire Chiefs has joined forces with Energizer batteries to spread the message that non-working smoke alarms are responsible for needless home fire deaths and injuries. Now, 31 years later, thanks to the Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery campaign, home fire deaths across the nation continue to decline. Fire deaths in the State of Michigan, however, are unfortunately at a 23 percent increase over this time in 2017.

Today’s home fires grow in size faster than ever, typically allowing as little as one to two minutes to escape a home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds, due to current home furnishings burning faster and producing more toxic gases and smoke. It is important to note that 65 percent of known fatal fires originated in the bedroom or living room. One thing that is instrumental in reducing deaths is the closing of doors to prevent fire spread and to facilitate escape.

Surveys conducted for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Consumer Products Safety Commission found that 96 percent of all homes have at least one smoke alarm, but only 75 percent have at least one working smoke alarm. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with either no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms.

Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing or dead batteries or disconnected wires. The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping; a working smoke alarm provides critical extra time needed to get out safely.

According to the NFPA, the maximum life cycle of a smoke alarm is 10 years from the date of manufacture, not the date of installation. Beginning in 2002, all smoke alarms must have a manufacture date marked on the outside of the smoke alarm. If your smoke alarm does not have a manufacture date or if you’ve had it for more than ten years, it needs to be replaced. The Farmington Hills Fire Department recommends purchasing smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries. All smoke alarms should be tested monthly.

“The Farmington Hills Fire Department has a free smoke alarm installation program,” said Olszewski. “We’ve installed hundreds of smoke alarms over the past 20 years and will continue to do so until everyone who needs a smoke alarm has one.”

Press release