Check smoke alarms when time changes

Published 4:12 pm Thursday, October 31, 2019

Fire Chief Tim Taylor

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The State Fire Marshal’s Office reports that so far in 2019 there have been 41 fire deaths. In 70 percent of those cases there was either no smoke alarm in the home, or the smoke alarm was not working.

Locally, Batesville Fire Chief Tim Taylor uses the end of Daylight Saving Time on Sunday to remind residents to check their smoke alarms.

Although few people have clocks or devices that need to be “turned back” the time change itself has become associated with checking alarms after years of national campaigns and reminders.

Taylor said smoke alarms should be tested once a month, batteries should be replaced once a year, and the whole unit should be replaced every 10 years.

Taylor led an effort 10 years ago to provide smoke alarms for every house and apartment in Batesville, and statistics show a great reduction in total losses of houses and far fewer injuries and deaths caused by smoke inhalation and fire.

Earlier this year Taylor advised the Mayor and Board of Aldermen that the 10-year life span of those original smoke alarms is almost up, and outlined another program to again have firefighters go door-to-door with replacement alarms.

Taylor told board members that it takes more time and effort, but having his firemen properly install alarms for residents is an important part of fire prevention for his department.

“Daylight Saving Time is an easy way for all of us to remember that we need to check our smoke alarms from time to time,” Taylor said. “It only takes a minute, and that minute may help save someone’s life.”

Batesville Fire Department will provide a smoke alarm for any resident who asks, and can be reached at 563-6612.

“At least 29 lives could have been saved this year if there had been a working smoke alarm in the home,” said State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney. “A working smoke alarm cuts your risk of dying in a fire in half. Not having one, or many placed throughout the home, is simply unacceptable.”

The SFMO gave more than 23,000 smoke alarms to county fire departments this year to be distributed within those communities.