That time of year: Change clocks, test smoke alarms


Fire & Emergency Services are encouraging residents to take time this weekend to change their smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries because a working smoke detector is the best tool a person has for surviving a fire.

The La Crosse Fire Department says the bi-annual time changes are a good reminder to also change the batteries in smoke and other unsafe gas detectors.

He says the new housing code requires a home to have a smoke detector in every sleeping room. Having a working smoke alarm reduces the risk of death or injury in a home fire by half.

Smoke alarms expire after 10 years and need to be replaced.

Join this Red Cross effort today by volunteering to install smoke alarms in your community, making a financial contribution, or taking steps to protect your own family from home fires.

And they should be checked at least twice a year, with the beginning and ending of daylight saving acting as a good reminder of the task. While you're at it, clean your smoke alarm. Never borrow a battery from a smoke alarm to use somewhere else. "Unfortunately, we still see fires that result in tragedy from the absence of smoke alarms or improper upkeep of them".

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Smoke alarms aren't effective if they aren't working properly. New Yorkers will set their clocks forward one hour on March 11. Second homeowners, for example, could choose to test on the Fourth of July and Christmas if that's easier for them to remember. You can find the "expiration date" on the back of each unit.

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- Vacuum the dust from inside the detector at least once every year.

In case of fire, call 9-1-1 once you are safely outside your home.

It is also recommended that residents test smoke alarms by pushing the test button, planning "two ways out" and practicing escape routes with the entire family.