Farmington Hills Fire Department reminds residents to change their smoke alarm batteries when turning clocks ahead to daylight saving time on March 14.
“It’s an easy, inexpensive, and proven way to protect your family and your home,” Fire Marshal Jason Baloga said in a press release.
Since 1987, the International Association of Fire Chiefs has joined with Energizer batteries in the Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery campaign to spread the message that non-working smoke alarms are responsible for needless home fire deaths and injuries. Unfortunately, Michigan experienced a 21 percent increase last year in fire fatalities, as 123 people died in 102 residential fires. Only 35 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.
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.
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 Smoke alarms should also be checked to see if they are outdated. If your smoke alarm does not show 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 new smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries and offers 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 about the free smoke alarm installation program, call 248-871-2820.