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More than 70 percent of U.S. fire-related deaths occur in homes without a working smoke alarm
JEFFERSON CITY – As Missourians “spring ahead” this weekend by advancing their clocks one hour early Sunday morning, State Fire Marshal Randy Cole reminds them to also change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
“The two time change weekends each year are great reminders to change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors,” said State Fire Marshal Randy Cole. “Across the United States, 80 percent of the children who die in home fires are killed in buildings without working smoke alarms. If people connect changing their clocks with changing their batteries, we will reduce the number of home fire deaths in this country.”
At 2 a.m. Sunday, March 13, daylight saving time goes into effect, and most of the U.S. springs ahead one hour. Each year, more than 2,500 Americans die in residential fires; about 15,000 are injured annually. The leading period for home fire deaths is from 11 p.m.to 7 a.m., when people tend to be asleep and the home is dark. The National Safety Council reports that almost 700 people die each year as a result of unintentional poisoning by gases or vapors in non-fire situations. Carbon monoxide is involved in the majority of these deaths.
“The chance of surviving a fire increases 50 percent when you have a working smoke alarm,” Fire Marshal Cole said. “Having smoke and CO alarms with fresh batteries is the best way to protect your family in case of a fire.”
Cole recommends Missourians regularly check smoke and CO alarms by pushing the test button, plan two escape routes from their homes and practice those escape routes with the entire family. Only 23 percent of U.S. families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Cole added that batteries removed from smoke alarms do not have to be discarded, but can be used in other devices.