Change your clock, change your battery: Check your smoke alarms as DST ends

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – As Daylight Saving Time comes to an end early Sunday morning, don’t forget to check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

According to a release by Suffolk Fire and Rescue, alarms equipped with either removable or sealed-in batteries should be tested to ensure homes are properly prepared for an emergency. Removable batteries should be replaced, and sealed-in batteries should be checked to make sure they are working.

Additionally, all alarms should be cleaned of any debris that could impede their function.

The National Fire Protection Association says that three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms, and the vast majority of smoke alarm failures are due to dead or missing batteries.

“The end of Daylight Saving Time is the perfect opportunity to check your smoke alarm batteries,” said Fire Marshal Chuck Chapin. “We encourage citizens to use this as a reminder to update your fire safety measures in the home, especially as the cold months approach and heaters start to turn on.”

Related: Virginia Beach Fire Dept. provides 7 tips to help avoid Christmas tree fires

Chapin offered these tips for fire safety:

  • Test alarms at least once a month by using the test button.
  • If you have an alarm with a removable battery, be sure to check the batteries every six months, and change the batteries every year. If a battery is starting to lose its power, the unit will usually chirp to warn you. Do NOT disable the unit.
  • Vacuum or blow out any dust that might have accumulated in the unit.
  • NEVER borrow a battery from an alarm to use somewhere else.
  • NEVER paint a smoke or CO alarm.
  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home, and in or near each sleeping area.
  • Smoke alarms should not be installed near a window, because drafts could interfere with their operation.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet from the stove.
  • Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for testing smoke alarms and replacing the batteries.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
  • There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use both types of alarms in the home.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.