Farmington Hills fire marshal: Change clocks, batteries Nov. 7

The Farmington Hills Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association urge all residents to change their smoke alarm batteries when changing their clocks from daylight savings time back to standard time on Sunday, November 7.

“It’s an easy, inexpensive, and proven way to protect your family and your home,” Fire Marshal Jason Baloga said in a press release.

To date in 2021, 86 people died in 74 Michigan residential fires, which is a 2.8 percent increase from 2020. Only 45 percent of the homes where fatalities occurred had working smoke alarms.

Today’s synthetic home furnishings burn faster than ever and produce more toxic gases and smoke, typically allowing only one to two minutes to escape after the smoke alarm sounds. Since 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 is vital in providing critical extra time needed to get out safely.

Farmington Hills Fire Marshal Jason Baloga
Farmington Hills Fire Marshal Jason Baloga urges residents to check their smoke alarm batteries when turning clocks back on November 7. Need a smoke alarm? Call the department. (City of Farmington Hills)

Over 65 percent of known fatal fires originate in the living room or the bedroom, so the Fire Department also recommends you “Close Before You Doze” and sleep with bedroom doors closed to prevent fire from spreading and to facilitate escape.

Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or nonworking smoke alarms. All smoke alarms should be tested monthly to check for missing or dead batteries or disconnected wires.

Smoke alarms should also be checked to see if they are outdated; since 2002 all smoke alarms must have the manufacture date marked on the outside. If your smoke alarm does not show a manufacture date or if you’ve had it for more than 10 years, it needs to be replaced.

The Farmington Hills Fire Department recommends purchasing new smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries. If you need help getting a smoke alarm, the department has a free smoke alarm installation program for residents.

“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.

For information, call 248-871-2820.

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