Spring Forward to Safety: Hoosiers Should Use Daylight Savings Time as reminder to check smoke alarms and preparedness kits

Last Updated on March 6, 2015 by cassnetwork

Turning forward the clock at the beginning of Daylight Saving Time on Saturday night is an appropriate time to remind Hoosiers to prepare for emergencies and disasters, and to change the batteries in smoke alarms.

Most smoke alarm batteries should be changed twice a year.

Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson advising all Indiana residents to have at least one working smoke detector in their residence. Ideally, smoke alarms should be located outside of each sleeping area. There should also be at least one on every floor. Smoke alarms are relatively inexpensive and many fire stations and organizations maintain programs that offer free smoke alarms, especially to low-income families and individuals, seniors and those who are at risk for various reasons.

“Since the beginning of the year, Indiana has suffered 20 fire fatalities, most in homes without functioning smoke detectors,” said Greeson. “Working smoke detectors save lives and give people the crucial extra seconds they need to have a fighting chance of evacuating from a house fire.”

Here are more smoke alarm tips to consider:

  • Test all smoke alarms every month to ensure they are working properly;
  • Purchase long-life smoke alarms with lithium-powered batteries. These types of detectors may not require a battery change for the life of the unit. Regular batteries should be changed at least once a year, preferably twice.
  • Replace any smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old;
  • Remove any dust from the front of the smoke alarm;
  • Devise a family escape plan and practice it at least every six months. Plans should include at least two different ways each family member could escape various parts of the house. Designate a special place outside of the home where family members are to meet after escaping a fire; and
  • For those renting a home or apartment, it is the landlord’s responsibility, and the law, to have at least one working smoke alarm in each unit.

Hoosiers should also take this time to ensure items in their preparedness kits are stocked and not expired. Items to check should include any food, water and medical supplies. As the upcoming months are notorious for severe weather, it is important to have at least one gallon of water per day for each person for three days and a three-day supply of nonperishable food for each family member. Additional supplies to think about are:

  • Manual can opener.
  • Eating utensils.
  • Paper cups, plates and towels.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries. Avoid candles — open flames could cause an explosion if there is a gas leak or are more likely to cause a fire.
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio (preferably to include a NOAA all hazards radio).
  • Dust mask.
  • Garbage bags.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Blankets.
  • Important documents in waterproof container (e.g., birth certificates, Social Security card, deeds, bonds, etc.).
  • Cash (keep small bills, as no power makes ATMs or credit cards unusable).

Daylight Saving Time begins this Saturday night when clocks should “spring forward” one hour.

For more on preparedness and fire safety visit www.GetPrepared.in.gov, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/IndianaDHS, or @IDHS on twitter.