When you spring ahead, don't forget to change your batteries

Don’t forget to change your clocks one hour forward this weekend. We're going back to daylight savings time, and clocks “spring forward” at 2 a.m., Sunday.

The Shelton Fire Prevention Bureau urges everyone to change their smoke alarm batteries, and possibly their alarms altogether, when changing their clocks. To stay safe, replacing batteries in all smoke alarms should be done at least once a year.

In addition, smoke alarms should be tested once a month and if an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.

Working smoke alarms save lives. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Smoke alarms should be installed and maintained throughout every home.

How old is your smoke alarm?

Ted Pisciotta, assistant chief of fire prevention, also suggests checking the age of all smoke alarms as well. Any smoke alarm that is 10 years or older should be replaced.

When replacing an alarm consider changing to both photoelectric and ionization type sensing alarms or combination alarm devises that have both type sensing technologies incorporated in the same unit.

An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. Early warning requires early detection of any type of fire. For this reason, both types of sensing technology within the home are important.

To prevent nuisance signals, use an ionization alarm with a hush button or a photoelectric alarm within 20 feet of any cooking appliance.

Regardless of the type of smoke alarm, Pisciotta suggests testing each smoke alarm by pressing the test button monthly. This ensures that it works and everyone in the family is familiar with the sound.

Testing smoke alarms is also a good opportunity for the entire family to review and practice their home escape plan.

Practice promptly exiting the home with two ways out. Gather outside at a designated meeting place and discuss how during a real emergency someone would then immediately call 911 for help.

More information

For more information, the public is encouraged to contact the Shelton Fire Prevention Bureau at 203-924-1555 or on the web under “Public Safety” at www.cityofshelton.org. Or click here.