• Special to the Daily Leader
As Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday and clocks are changed back one hour, the Liberal Fire Department wants to remind residents to make another change that could save their lives – changing the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Communities nationwide witness tragic home fire deaths each year. An average of two children per day die in home fires and 80 percent of those occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Non-working smoke alarms rob residents of the protective benefits home fire safety devices were designed to provide. The most commonly cited cause of non-working smoke alarms: worn or missing batteries.
Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. In fact, working smoke alarms nearly cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire. Additionally, the International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends replacing your smoke alarms every 10 years.
To save lives and prevent needless injuries in Liberal, the Liberal Fire Department has joined forces with Energizer and the International Association of Fire Chiefs for the 21st year of the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery® campaign. The program urges all Americans to adopt a simple, lifesaving habit: changing smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries when changing clocks back to standard time each fall, this year on Nov. 2.
“The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
when most families are sleeping,” said Skeety Poulton, Deputy Chief of Operations. “Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get our safely.”
In addition, the Liberal Fire Department recommends residents use the “extra” hour they save from the time change to test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors by pushing the test button, planning “two ways out” and practicing escape routes with the entire family.
Families should also prepare a fire safety kit that includes working flashlights and fresh batteries.
Tragically, fire can kill selectively. Those most at risk include:
Children – About 600 children under the age of 20 die each year in home fires. Children under age 5 are at twice the risk of dying in a home fire. Eighty percent of fatal home fire victims who were children were killed in homes without working smoke alarms.
Seniors – Adults age 75 and older are three times more likely to die in home fires than the rest of the population; those 85 and older are
4.5 times more likely to die in a home fire. Many seniors are unable to escape quickly.
Low-Income Households – Many low-income families are unable to afford batteries for their smoke alarms. These same households often rely on poorly installed, maintained or misused portable or area heating equipment – a main cause of fatal home fires.
For more information about smoke detectors, replacement batteries, or fire safety, please call the Liberal Fire Department at 626-0128 or 626-0561.