One Small Change For A Safer Home



The fall time change is a great reminder to prepare an emergency power kit in case of a power failure caused by severe storms. NYFD firefighter Terrance McGann and his family get ready by changing the batteries in a smoke alarm and a flashlight.

Every fall we’re reminded to change the batteries in household smoke detectors — but how many make that change? Forgetting the clock means you could be an hour late. Forgetting the smoke detector could put the whole family at risk.

Did You Know?

•Approximately every three hours a home fire death occurs somewhere in the nation.

•Children ages five and under are twice as likely as the population as a whole to die in home fires.

•1,000 children die every year in home fires.

•80 percent of home fire deaths result from fires in homes without working smoke alarms.

Local fire departments are a community’s first defense in emergencies such as home fires. The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Energizer have teamed up for the Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery™ campaign. They want to remind people that the best way to protect your family in a home fire is to have a working smoke detector. Twenty-five million homes are at needless risk due to worn or missing smoke detectors.

There are two types of smoke detectors: an ionization alarm and a photoelectric alarm. They have varying response times in specific fire situations. The National Institute of Standards and Technology concluded that ionization alarms provide a “better response to flaming fires,” while photoelectric alarms provide “considerably faster response to smoldering fires.” However, 90 percent of U.S. homes have the ionization alarms, which usually are cheaper than photoelectric smoke detectors.

You only have about three minutes to escape a house fire. So it’s vital to have effective equipment that works.

Alarm Tips

•Buy new smoke detectors at least every 10 years, because they lose their sensitivity over time. Install some ionization and some photoelectric smoke detectors.

•Install detectors on every level of your house, preferably in every room, but especially inside bedrooms.

•Change the batteries every six months and test your smoke alarms once a month by pushing the button.

•Follow the manufacturer’s directions for optimum placement. It’s best to install most smoke alarms on ceilings because smoke rises, and that gives you the earliest possible warning.

Changing a battery is a little thing — but it could be the little thing that saves your life.

For more information on home safety, visit or

Sources of statistics and information: National Fire Protection Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services

Fire Facts

•Seniors 75 and older are three times more likely to die in a home fire.

•10 p.m. to 6 a.m. are the peak hours for home fires — when most people are asleep and the house is dark.

•Only 25 percent of U.S. families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan to ensure they could escape quickly and safely. Developing a family emergency escape plan can be crucial to everyone’s safety.

Emergency Power Kits

Energizer and the IAFC remind families the fall time change is a great time to prepare an emergency power kit so that they are prepared in case of a power failure caused by severe winter storms.

“A flashlight, extra batteries and a battery-operated radio are important to have on hand should the lights go out,” says Chief Larry Grorud, President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. “The IAFC urges people not to use candles in case of a power outage and to use flashlights and battery powered light sources instead.”

•Candles used for light in the absence of electrical power cause one-third of fatal home fires.

•Candles are the second leading cause of injuries from home fires, following cooking.

•When your power goes out, use flashlights instead of candles.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Families also need to change the batteries in carbon monoxide detectors.

•Carbon monoxide is sometimes called the silent killer. It is colorless, odorless and tasteless.

•More than 500 people in the U.S. die each year from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

•67 percent of households use gas, wood, kerosene, coal or fuel as their major heating source. These heating sources, which release carbon monoxide when burned, cause more than 100,000 medical visits and 300 home poisoning deaths each year, due to improper equipment servicing or lack of precautionary detectors.

All materials courtesy of Energizer

From Family Features


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