Check home’s smoke alarms

As you make your way around the house later tonight changing clocks back one hour, remember to check the most important items in the house — smoke detectors.

The beginning and end of daylight saving time offer a good reminder to check batteries in smoke detectors. Batteries need to be replaced at least once a year.

It also is a good time to check on hardwired smoke detectors to make sure the units are working properly, and that includes those units that have a battery backup in case of a power failure.

Smoke alarms save lives.

The U.S. Fire Administration reported three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms, and more than one-third of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present. But, the statistics show, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms aren’t something to be hung on the ceiling or wall and forgotten about. They need to be tested once a month, regardless of whether the units are battery operated or hardwired. They can save lives, but they also have a limited life.

The units should be changed every 10 years from the date of manufacture, or when it doesn’t sound when tested. The manufacturing date is normally listed on the back of the unit.

Detectors should be placed in all bedrooms and on every floor of the house.

A smoke detector sounding in the middle of the night can result in you and family members becoming disoriented as you are awakened from a sound sleep. Take the time to practice evacuation routes from the house. Knowing where to go in the event of a fire can be just as important as having a working smoke detector. Seconds count in the event of a fire.

It is the job of a smoke detector to sound an alert in the event of a fire so everyone can make it out safely.