Fire Officials: Time change should signal smoke-detector battery change, too

WINDER -- When clocks fall back an hour each year, fire officials in Barrow County start thinking of smoke detectors. And the finite power of batteries that run them.

The annual Daylight Savings time-shift is an opportune reminder for citizens to swap smoke-detector batteries with fresh ones, Barrow County Emergency Services spokesman Lt. Scott Dakin said.

"We also ask that you clean your smoke alarms and test them to make sure they are in good working order," Dakin said. "We know without any doubt that a working smoke alarm saves lives."

Dakin pointed to National Fire Protection Agency statistics that show almost of fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms, or in homes where smoke alarms weren't working.

Officials recommend that at least one working smoke alarm be installed on every level of homes. Dakin recommends that one be placed in each bedroom and outside each sleeping area.

"If possible they should all be interconnected, so that when one goes off they all sound," he said. "They should be tested monthly and the batteries changed twice a year."

A smoke alarm senses smoke in two ways: An ionization alarm reacts quicker to open, free-burning fires, while a photoelectric alarm reacts quicker to a smoldering fire, Dakin said. It's recommended for the best protection that citizens utilize a dual sensor smoke alarm, he said.

"Working smoke alarms more than double your chances of surviving a house fire. They're an integral part of keeping your family safe and should be maintained properly," said Dakin. "Changing your batteries is an important part of keeping them working."