TAVARES — The Lake County Public Safety Department is reminding residents to change batteries in their home smoke alarms and NOAA weather radios for daylight saving time, which begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 9.
Fire officials across the nation encourage homeowners to replace batteries in smoke alarms when they change their clocks because it provides a convenient reminder.
“More than 2,500 people in the United States die each year in structure fires, and by encouraging residents to have working smoke alarms, we hope to save lives,” said Lake County Public Safety Fire Chief John Jolliff. “Smoke alarms, which work to detect smoke 24 hours a day, better protect our citizens and firefighters by leading to earlier fire detection.”
National statistics show that more than 95 percent of U.S. households have at least one smoke alarm installed, however, only 75 percent of all homes have a working smoke alarm. A majority of all home fire deaths occur in homes with non-working or no smoke alarms.
While it is recommended that batteries be replaced in smoke alarms semi-annually, the devices should also be tested at least once a month. With a home fire occurring every 85 seconds nationwide, 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 alarms should be installed in every bedroom, on every floor of a home and in hallways leading to bedrooms, and should be replaced every 10 years.
The Lake County Public Safety Department offers a program that provides eligible residents living in unincorporated Lake County with free smoke alarms. Qualified at-risk individuals include income eligible residents 65 years or older, income eligible households with children under 12 years of age and income eligible 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 alarm program, call the Lake County Public Safety Department at 352-343-9458.
For details and facts on smoke alarms, visit the United States Fire Administration at www.usfa.fema.gov/campaigns/smokealarms/.