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Change Clocks, Change Batteries in Smoke Alarms

Fall Back ClockDaylight Saving Time begins November 5, and as communities prepare to "fall back" one hour, the Office of the Kansas State Fire Marshal (OSFM) urges residents to practice fire safety by testing their smoke alarms and changing the batteries.

Alkaline batteries should be replaced at least once a year, and a good rule of thumb is to change the batteries when you change your clocks.

Kansas Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen stresses the importance of replacing outdated smoke alarms with newer models featuring 10-year sealed lithium batteries. The manufacturer date can be found on the back of the smoke alarm.

"Ensuring you have working smoke alarms in your home is the single most important step you can take to increase your family's safety from a home fire," Jorgensen said. "Purchasing and installing smoke alarms with batteries that don't need to be changed annually is one of the most affordable ways to protect your family."

The OSFM, through its "Get Alarmed, Kansas" program, is working with fire departments across the state to deliver and install free smoke alarms, which also include Carbon Monoxide detection. For more information on "Get Alarmed, Kansas," visit www.firemarshal.ks.gov.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.

To protect your home, follow these smoke alarm safety tips:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home, including in the basement.
  • If the alarm chirps warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
  • For smoke alarms without the long-life lithium batteries, be sure to replace batteries at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, replace only the battery. Date each unit when they are installed and replace them after ten years – or sooner if they do not successfully pass the test by sounding the alarm when the test button is pressed.

In addition to changing smoke alarm batteries, it is a good idea to practice a family escape plan:

  • Plan and practice two escape routes out of every room in your house.
  • Designate an outside meeting place.
  • In case of fire, call 911 once you are safely outside your home.
  • Once outside, stay outside and don't return for anything – not even a pet.

(Information courtesy Kansas State Fire Marshal.)

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