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Change your clocks, change your batteries

Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. this Sunday, March 14. Suffolk Fire & Rescue wants you to consider this your semiannual reminder not only to change your clocks but also to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly. The following are additional “timely” safety tips to keep your family safe:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, in the hallways leading to the bedrooms, and on each level of your home.
  • Smoke alarms should be mounted on the ceiling 4 inches from the wall; wall mounts should be 4 to 12 inches from the ceiling. Do not install smoke alarms near draft areas.
  • Smoke alarms with non-replaceable, long-life batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the low-battery alarm chirps, replace the entire alarm immediately.
  • Test your smoke alarm every month by holding down the test button.
  • For the best protection, equip your home with a combination of both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms.
  • Make sure everyone in your home understands the warning of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
  • Finally, prepare and practice an escape plan so that you and your loved ones can get out of your home safely should there be a fire. Plan to meet in the front yard in a place where first responders can easily see you.

“Saving your life can be as simple as changing your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries at least twice a year, and any time you hear the “chirp” warning of a low battery,” says Fire Marshal Chuck Chapin.

Wondering how to safely dispose of those replaced smoke alarm batteries? The Suffolk Public Library has convenient recycle containers at all local branches.

For more information on home fire safety, or to request assistance with checking smoke detectors and batteries, contact the Suffolk Fire & Rescue Department at 757-514-4550, or email fireprevbureau@suffolkva.us.