YORK, Pa. — As daylight saving time ends this weekend, the American Red Cross issued a reminder: When you turn your clock back, make sure you also test your smoke alarm and change its batteries to help keep your home safe from fires.
“Home fires claim more lives in a typical year than all natural disasters combined, but working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half,” said Jorge Martinez, interim CEO of the American Red Cross Greater Pennsylvania Region. “The sooner an alarm alerts you to a fire, the sooner you can get out. When you turn your clocks back this weekend, also test your smoke alarms to help prevent a tragedy in your home.”
Over the past month, local Red Cross volunteers have responded to help more than 60 people in central Pennsylvania affected by 20 home fires in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties, the Red Cross said.
Home fires account for most of the more than 60,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to nationally, the organization added.
HOW TO TURN AND TEST
When turning your clocks back this weekend, test your smoke alarms and replace the batteries if needed.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
- Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. Components such as sensors can become less sensitive over time. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.
- Practice your two-minute home fire escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to escape a burning home before it’s too late.
- Include at least two ways to get out of every room and select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone can meet.
IF YOU NEED HELP
If you cannot afford to purchase smoke alarms or are physically unable to install one, the Red Cross may be able to help. Contact your local Red Cross for help.
Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to create and practice with your family, or download the free Red Cross Emergency app by searching “American Red Cross” in app stores.