Daylight saving time: Change your smoke detector battery

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga -- The staff of the 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron fire prevention office is urging members of the 23rd Wing and 93d Air Ground Operations Wing to make a potentially life-saving move when they set their clocks on the weekend of Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, by taking a moment to change the battery in their smoke alarm.

Setting the clocks back is a task that everybody takes for granted. Turning the clocks back will already be on the 'to-do' list for the majority of households over the clock change weekend. But while timekeeping is a vital part of our lives, and we all keep our clocks working to stay on track, it's shocking to know that many people forget to ensure the safety of themselves and their loved ones by keeping their smoke alarm in the same working order.

Every year in the United States, about 3,000 people lose their lives in residential fires. Most fire victims die from inhalation of smoke and toxic gases, not as a result of burns. Most deaths and injuries occur in fires that happen at night while the victims are asleep.

Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms in the home are considered one of the best and least expensive means of providing an early warning of a potentially deadly fire. Smoke alarms save lives, prevent injuries and minimize property damage by enabling residents to detect fires early in their development. The risk of dying from fires in homes without smoke alarms is twice as high as in homes that have working smoke alarms.

All smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month to make sure they operate properly. If a smoke alarm is battery operated, replace the batteries at least once a year to make sure the alarm will work when it is needed. It's a good practice to make replacement of batteries a seasonal routine, such as when resetting clocks in the fall or spring. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing smoke alarms and replacing the batteries.

If your battery-powered smoke alarm begins to emit a low-power warning, usually a chirping sound, replace the battery immediately with a fresh one. This will ensure that your smoke alarm will continue to provide protection.

Please feel free to contact the fire prevention office at 229-257-4410 if you have questions pertaining to smoke detectors or any other fire prevention related concern, and don't forget to reset your clocks this weekend!