Farmington Hills Fire: Change your clock, change your battery

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, March 8.

Farmington Hills Fire Marshal Jason Baloga
Farmington Hills Fire Marshal Jason Baloga (City of Farmington Hills)

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

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

Thanks to the Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery campaign, home fire deaths across the nation continue to decline over the last 33 years. Fire deaths in the State of Michigan for 2020, however, show an unfortunate 81 percent increase from this same point in 2019.

Today’s home fires grow in size faster than ever, typically allowing as little as one to two minutes to escape 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 the living room, bedroom, and kitchen are the top three areas of origin for fire deaths. One thing that is instrumental in reducing deaths is making sure to close 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 6 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 where 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,” Baloga said. “The program is a group effort involving the entire Fire Prevention Staff, and operational crews who have worked extremely hard to ensure that homes have working smoke alarms.”

For information about the free smoke alarm installation program, contact the Fire Prevention Division at 248-871-2820