It’s that time again, so before you “spring forward,” you may want to pick up some batteries at the store this week. The Santa Barbara City Fire Department and Office of Emergency Services urges all residents to use the daylight saving time change on Saturday night, March 12/13, as a reminder to change the batteries in smoke detectors before going to bed. Working smoke detectors can decrease the risk of fatalities by nearly 50%, by providing an early warning and critical extra seconds to escape in the case of fire. Though 82% of homes in the U.S. have smoke detectors, nearly one-third of those do not work because of worn or missing batteries.

The Santa Barbara City Fire Department and Office of Emergency Services urge families to set your clocks ahead one hour and change batteries in your smoke detector so you don’t become a statistic. Other suggestions for households include replacing alarm batteries when they “chirp” (signaling a low battery), test smoke detectors monthly, develop a fire evacuation plan including at least two escape routes, have charged fire extinguishers installed in or near the kitchen, and perform a fire prevention “house cleaning” to eliminate fire hazards.

As a reminder, do these things every six (6) months when you reset your clocks:

Check and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.

Replace any smoke alarms older than ten years. Replace any CO alarms older than five years.

Prepare a disaster supply kit for your house (water, food, flashlights, batteries, blankets).

Once you’ve created your home disaster kit, use the semi-annual time change to check its contents (including testing/replacing flashlight batteries).

It’s a good idea to carry a car-emergency kit in your car year-round, but be sure to add cold weather gear to your general car-emergency kit each fall. (Having a separate duffle/gear bag clearly marked “Cold Gear” specifically for your cold weather emergency gear makes it easy to add or take out of the car, seasonally.)

Check home and outbuilding storage areas for hazardous materials. Discard, properly, any which are outdated, no longer used, or in poor condition. Move any which are within reach of kids or pets.

Check and discard expired medications – those dates really DO have meaning some very common over-the-counter medications can cause serious problems due to change through aging.

Remember to check the AGE of your detectors!


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