For the past three decades or so, your local fire department has used the beginning of Daylight Saving Time to remind you not only about time but to take time – for fire safety.
Each spring (and in the fall if you didn’t do it in spring) you are asked to change the batteries on your smoke detector. “It’s really an inexpensive way to help keep you safe in the event that there is a fire and there’s an emergency and you need to get out,” says Mark Keller from the Savannah Fire Department.
In the past two months, we have been reminded locally that fire not only destroys property but takes lives. Several people, including an 82 year old grandfather, have died in house fires. Keller says nationally, about 80 percent of all fatal fires happen in homes that do not have a “working” smoke detector. He says check your batteries and the age of your device.
“If you’ve got a ten year old smoke detector go ahead and just spring for a new one,” he told us. “If your smoke detector is less than ten years old, test it to make sure it’s still working and even if it is, go ahead and change your batteries.”
Keller says they also encourage people to have an escape plan to practice it. He says map out a way you could leave your home even if it’s just the window in your bedroom. And he advises having your family practice that escape plan twice in the year – once in daylight and once a night. “During the day you may know how to get to a window to get out but at night if you’re stumbling around and the power’s not on you’ve got a fire going on – the last thing you want to try is to remember where that window is so practice it at night,” he said.
He knows tragedies happen but believes that you can do things to protect your family. “Smoke detectors and escape plans, carbon monoxide detectors those are all good things they’re not 100 percent but they give you a much better chance if you have a fire,” he says.
1) Always tell overnight guests how they would exist your home safety in case of fire
2) Never be tempted to remove the batteries from your smoke dectector because you need them for some other device. Keller says you never know when you may have an emergency.
3) Have a fire extinguisher along with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
4) If you have small children, not only should you practice your escape route but have a meeting place somewhere near your home in case family members are separated in the excitement of trying to leave the house.