Daylight-saving time ends Sunday, November 6 and Roanoke County Fire & Rescue Department reminds us to change and test the batteries in our smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. This message is simple and the habit can be lifesaving.
The Roanoke County Fire & Rescue Department reminds residents that one easy step can help save their lives and the lives of those around them. Everyone is encouraged to use the extra
hour they “gain” from daylight-saving time to change the batteries in their own smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, test the alarms and remind friends, family, neighbors and fellow community members to do the same.
Communities nationwide witness tragic home fire deaths each year, but everyone can work together to help reduce the number of home fire fatalities. 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.
“Here in Roanoke County, there have been a number of fatal home fires where smoke alarms were either not working properly or did not have batteries in them. Conversely, we can also site cases where families were saved as a result of their working smoke alarm,” says Chief Richard E. Burch, Jr. of Roanoke County Fire & Rescue.
Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, testing those alarms and reminding others to do the same are some of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. Additionally, the International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends that smoke alarms in homes should be replaced every 10 years and having both ionization and photo electric smoke alarms are best to alert people to all types of home fires.
Why This Program is Lifesaving
“The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are sleeping,” says Chief Burch. “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 out safely.”
In addition, Chief Burch recommends residents not only use the “extra” hour they save from the time change to test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and to plan and practice escape routes, but also to make sure fellow neighbors and community members do the same. Families should also prepare a fire safety kit that includes working flashlights and fresh batteries.
Tragically, home fires injure and kill thousands each year. Those most at risk include:
• Children — Home fires kill 500 children ages 14 and under each year. Roughly three-quarters of child fire fatalities under age 15 occurred in homes without working smoke alarms.
• Seniors — Adults 75 and older are 2.8 times more likely to die in a home fire.
• 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 fire safety, call Roanoke County Fire & Rescue’s Safety Line at 777-8718 or go to www.RoanokeCountyVA.gov/FireRescue.