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State Fire Marshal Reminds Residents to Replace Smoke Alarm Batteries

Thursday, March 10, 2011 | 09:51am
NASHVILLE- As clocks move ahead this weekend for daylight saving time, Tennessee State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak would like to remind Tennesseans to change their homes’ smoke alarm batteries, as well.
 
“ ‘Change your clock, change your battery’ is an easy phrase to remember and practice, when you update your clocks this weekend,” says McPeak. “Smoke alarms, even those that are hard-wired, should have their batteries replaced regularly and be tested monthly to ensure you have the protection you need,” McPeak says. “Use this time to protect your home and family.”
 
A working smoke alarm will double your survival chances during a home fire, by giving you the critical time needed to escape. Most home fires occur at night when people are sleeping. A fire’s smoke and toxic gases can actually deepen sleep, diminishing the chances of survival.
 
More than 90 percent of all American homes have smoke alarms, but as many as one-third of them don’t work – because of old or missing batteries. It is critical to replace batteries regularly – even if they appear to be working fine. Twice a year is recommended. This helps prevent the warning, low-battery “chirp” emitted by alarms. All too often, alarm batteries are removed but not replaced, putting home occupants at risk. There is no way to predict when a fire will occur, and just one night in a home without a working smoke alarm can prove dangerous. Replacing batteries for daylight saving time is just one fire safety step. Here are a few more:
 
·         Smoke alarms should be put inside and outside every room where residents sleep, and on each home level. All residents should know how the alarm sounds and what it means.
·         Smoke alarms need to be cleaned and maintained according to their instructions.
·         Have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room; teach it to everyone in the home, especially children.
·         When the smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to a pre-planned meeting place.
 
Many local fire departments have supplies of donated smoke alarms, and departments will help install them in the homes of the elderly and disabled. Visit www.tn.gov/commerce/sfm/. The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/