TAVARES — The Lake County Public Safety Department is reminding all County residents to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and NOAA weather radios for Eastern Daylight Time, which begins 2 a.m. Sunday, March 10.
“Fire officials across the nation encourage homeowners to replace batteries in smoke alarms when they change their clocks because it provides a convenient reminder,” said John Jolliff, fire chief and public safety director for Lake County.
National statistics report that more than 95 percent of U.S. households have at least one smoke alarm installed. However, an estimated 25 percent of those households have smoke alarms that do not work because of dead or missing batteries. Two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes with nonworking or missing smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, on every floor of a home and in hallways leading to bedrooms.
While it is recommended that batteries be replaced in smoke alarms semi-annually, the devices also should be tested at least once a month. With a home fire occurring every 85 seconds in the U.S., the proper maintenance of smoke alarms increases the chances of surviving a fire by 50 percent. Coupled with a family fire-escape plan, operational smoke alarms can save lives. Smoke alarm units should be replaced every eight to 10 years with newer units.
The Lake County Public Safety Department offers a program that provides eligible residents residing in unincorporated Lake County with free smoke alarms. Qualified at-risk individuals include low-income residents age 65 or older; low-income households with children younger than 12; and low-income households with disabled individuals that may impede escape action.
The Lake County Fire Rescue Division handles smoke-alarm installations on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. For more information about the smoke-detector program, contact J.B. Blackwell, fire marshal-captain with the Lake County Department of Public Safety, at JBBlackwell@lakecountyfl.gov or 352- 343-9458.
For further information and facts on smoke alarms, visit the U.S. Fire Administration at www.usfa.fema.gov/campaigns/smokealarms.