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Don't forget to change batteries in smoke detector with clock change

LAWRENCEVILLE - Clocks aren't the only home devices that might need changing this weekend.

Gwinnett fire officials urge residents to think "fresh batteries" when bumping back clocks for daylight saving time before bedtime Saturday night.

Smoke detector batteries should be replaced twice a year, firefighters recommend, and the biannual clock change should act as a reminder to do so.

"Your life and the life of the smoke detector depends on its battery," said Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Thomas Rutledge. "(Changing batteries) is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce injuries and deaths."

Statistics show that most people have smoke detectors. Only about one home in 20 isn't equipped with at least one.

But more than half of all home fire deaths happen in the small percentage of homes without detectors. And about one in four detectors found in home fires does not work, Rutledge said.

"The problem is that people forget to change the battery," Rutledge said.

Rutledge noted that smoke detectors are particularly valuable in early morning hours when most people are sleeping. The majority of home fires occur between midnight and 6 a.m., he said.

"You lose the sense of smell in your sleep," Rutledge said. "That's why the noise of a smoke detector is your first line of defense."