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LARA: Change smoke detector batteries when changing clocks this weekend

A potentially life-saving tip

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DETROIT – The Michigan State fire marshal suggests changing the batteries in your smoke alarms as you change your clocks back this weekend.

Daylight saving time ends Sunday at 2 a.m., returning Michigan to Eastern Standard Time. In a statement released Friday, LARA officials suggest changing the batteries in your home’s smoke alarms as you change the clocks back. 

“The foam cushions and synthetic fabrics in household furnishings today produce more heat, thick, dark smoke and fire gases than in the past. Early warning by working smoke alarms in your home improves the ability for your family to get an early warning of a fire and quickly exit your home," State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer said. “There should be a smoke alarm on every level of the home, including your basement, and in every bedroom. Sunday, when you change your clock, change the batteries in your smoke alarms.”

According to the statement, 71 percent of smoke alarm failures are the result of missing, disconnected or dead batteries. LARA officials also recommend checking the batteries of your smoke alarms once a month and to not remove batteries unless you’re putting new batteries in. 

Homes without a functional fire alarm account for three out of five fire deaths in the United States. There have been 61 people killed by residential fires in Michigan in 2017 so far.

Sehlmeyer emphasized the importance of having a home fire escape plan. He urged families to "plan two ways out" and practice with all family members and people living in the residence at least twice a year. 

The National Fire Protection Association recommends the following safety tips:
•    Replace batteries once a year, or when they begin to chirp, signaling that they’re running low.
•    Equip your home with multiple smoke alarms in all the bedrooms, outside of each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement. 
•    For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms so when one sounds, they all sound.
•    Hardwired smoke alarms are more reliable than those powered solely by batteries.
•    Buy newer models of smoke alarms with lithium batteries that will last the life of the unit.
•    Replace all smoke alarms at least every 10 years, or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.
•    Choose alarms that bear the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

For information on smoke alarms and safety tips, visit the NFPA website or visit the Bureau of Fire Services website for more fire safety information.

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