Change the clock, change the smoke detector battery

Staff Writer
Chillicothe Times-Bulletin

SPRINGFIELD – As a biannual initiative to keep Illinois families safe, the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal reminds the public to change their smoke alarm batteries as clock are set forward one hour March 9.

Smoke alarm batteries should be changed twice a year in an effort to prevent injuries and deaths in case of a fire emergency.

“Safety starts at home. One basic step is to change your smoke alarm batteries on Saturday before going to bed,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis. “Illinois law requires every household to have smoke alarms within 15 feet of every bedroom, and at least one on each floor of the home.”

On March 9, residents will set their clocks one hour forward from 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. CST. This is the time for parents and adults to replace smoke alarm batteries the night before, teach children how to identify the sound of a smoke alarm and practice a home escape plan.

Last year in Illinois, more than 2,050 structure fires were reported. In more than 350 of those structure fires, smoke alarms alerted occupants.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments have responded to an estimated annual average of 366,600 home structure fires from 2007-2011. On average, seven people died each day in U.S. home fires. Sixty percent of all fire deaths reported during that period resulted from homes with no smoke alarms present or where smoke alarms were installed but did not operate.

For more information about fire safety and prevention, contact your local fire department or visit: www.sfm.illinois.gov.