One of my favorite points in the year is coming up soon — Daylight Saving Time. Specifically, "springing forward." Sure, we "lose" an hour of sleep for one night, but what we get in return is well worth the sacrifice — more daylight, giving us the ability to enjoy more of the things we love to do outdoors once the warmer temperatures of spring start to roll in. For me, that's heading to a golf course to play 18, and cooking dinner on the grill. But, as the Evansville Fire Department reminds us, there's something else in our homes we need to change in addition to our clocks. A quick and easy change that could save our family's lives in the case of an emergency.

When to Change Your Smoke Detector Batteries

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I'll assume most of us have at least one smoke detector somewhere in our home. In my house, we have two. One in the kitchen and one at the top of the stairs near our bedrooms. I'll also assume you probably don't remember the last time you changed the batteries in your smoke detector(s). They're easy to forget. Smoke detectors are designed to be mounted on a ceiling or high on a wall near the ceiling putting them effectively, "out of sight, out of mind" as the old saying goes.

Fortunately, most detectors are designed to beep when the battery begins to run low. But, if you're like me, when that happens, you may not have a battery laying around to replace it. So, what do you do? You pop the battery out to make the annoying beeping stop and, as they say in New York City, "fuhgeddaboudit."

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According to the U.S. Fire Administration in a post shared by the Evansville Fire Department on Facebook, Daylight Saving Time, both when we spring forward and when we fall back, are also the perfect time to take a minute and replace those batteries.

How Many Smoke Detectors Do I Need?

While I couldn't find a specific answer for the minimum number suggested, obviously, you ideally should have at least one somewhere in your home. Most manufacturers and the U.S. Fire Administration recommend having one on every level in your home, including both outside and inside every bedroom or sleeping area, mounted either on the ceiling or high on a wall.

House Fire Statistics in the United States

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According to 2019 data from the U.S. Fire Administration (the most recent available), there were 1,291,500 house fires in the United States. The good news is, that was down just over 3% over a ten-year period. However, the number of deaths as a result of those fires was 3,704, a 24.1% increase over that same time.

While smoke detectors can't prevent those fires from happening, they can help prevent the loss of life. Need more proof? Here are a few eye-opening statistics from the Administration showing that having working smoke detectors in your home could be the difference between life and death:

  • Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms
  • More than one-third (38 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.
  • The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

When is 2022 Daylight Saving Time

This year, we spring forward at 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 13th. Now that you know how vital smoke detectors can be in protecting your family, be sure to change those batteries when you change those clocks.

If you don't have one, or you can't remember how long it's been since you bought those you do have, buy a couple now while you're thinking about it.

[Sources: Evansville Fire Department on Facebook / U.S. Fire Administration]

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