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Daylight Saving Time brings important safety reminder - 03/10/08

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With the beginning of Daylight Saving Time and the Spring Forward time change on March 9, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is urging people to take safety precautions with smoke alarms when they set their clocks ahead one hour.

However, simply replacing the batteries in some smoke alarms may not be enough to ensure protection against fire emergencies, especially if those alarms are more than ten years old. NAPA studies indicate one out of four alarms may not be functional due to the age of the alarm, as well as dead or missing batteries. That’s why the NFPA strongly recommends replacing smoke alarms after ten years.

“Daylight Saving Time has always served as a good reminder to change the batteries in smoke alarms,” said Debbie Hanson, director of external affairs for BRK Brands/First Alert. “But we need people to remember that smoke alarms should be replaced after ten years. It’s imperative that smoke alarms be replaced after ten years to ensure families are protected in fire emergencies.”

Besides offering the best protection and earliest warning in the event of a fire, the smoke alarms available today offer new technologies and features that were virtually inconceivable ten years ago. First Alert, a leader in home safety products including smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, offers award-winning ONELINK Technology, which allows homeowners to create a network of smoke alarms that talk to each other with no wiring required. When one alarm sounds, all alarms sound, giving everyone in the home a better chance of hearing the alarms and reacting quickly.

Also, several smoke alarm models are now available with special lithium batteries that last ten years and never have to be replaced during the recommended life of the alarm. Other features of today’s smoke alarms include remote controlled muting to quiet nuisance alarms and easy access battery compartments, which allow consumers to change or replace batteries without having to remove the alarm from the ceiling.

According to Ms. Hanson, fire safety education and routine maintenance of smoke alarms are the cornerstones to reducing the incidence and severity of home fires.

“One of our goals is to raise awareness about fire safety issues and help people protect themselves. Replacing home smoke alarms after ten years is as important as changing the batteries with Daylight Saving Time,” she said.

The following are simple steps people can take that will reduce the risk of fire-related injury and property loss:

• Change the batteries in smoke alarms every six months or when the low battery signal is heard.
• Test your alarms weekly using the units’ test buttons to ensure batteries and all alarm functions are working properly.
• Never remove the unit’s batteries to stop an unwanted alarm or nuisance alarm, such as those caused by cooking smoke or burnt toast. According to the NFPA, half of the deaths in homes equipped with smoke alarms occur because the smoke alarm did not sound — usually when batteries are dead, disconnected or missing.
• Replace older smoke alarms after ten years or in accordance with manufacturer’s warranties.

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