To help battle Tennessee’s high incidence of fire deaths, Rural/Metro is reminding homeowners to change the battery in their smoke alarms when Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3. When you set your clocks back one hour, don’t forget to also replace your smoke alarm battery.
A 10-year study conducted by Rural/Metro Fire Department into fire fatalities in Tennessee confirmed the absence or disuse of a smoke alarm as a major factor in making a house fire deadly. Tennessee has consistently ranked in the top 10 for highest number of fire fatalities with a total of 84 fire-related deaths in 2012, and 72 deaths already recorded in 2013, according to the Tennessee Fire Marshal.
“Recently, Fire Prevention Week 2013 demonstrated many ways to prevent home fires, and having operational smoke alarms is one of the easiest ways to protect your home,” said Rural/Metro Fire Chief Gene Blaylock. “Working smoke alarms decrease your risk of fire death by approximately 50 percent. We can all take one easy step to ensure a safer home by remembering to change your smoke alarm battery at least once a year.”
Although 95 percent of American homes have smoke alarms, 20 percent do not work due to depleted or missing batteries. Most fire-related deaths happen in homes without working smoke alarms. The peak time for residential fire fatalities is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most inhabitants are sleeping.
“During a home fire, you may only have seconds to escape, so having a working smoke alarm is key in a safe escape for the whole family,” Blaylock said. “That’s why the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) sponsors the annual ‘Change Your Clock, Change Your Batteries’ campaign.”
Rural/Metro is also reminding residents that smoke detectors should be checked once a month by pushing the test button and replaced every 10 years. Residents should also change the batteries in their flashlights regularly and plan two escape routes from their homes in the event of a fire.