TAVARES — Lake County Fire Rescue is reminding residents to change batteries in their home smoke alarms during daylight saving time, which begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13.
“Having a working smoke alarm allows residents time to get out of a burning home, and cuts the chances of dying in a residential fire in half,” said Lake County Fire Rescue Fire Marshal Capt. Michael Vitta. “Most home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes without a proper smoke alarm, which is why it is so important to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home, and to make sure they are working at all times.”
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. While it is recommended that batteries be replaced in smoke alarms semi-annually, the devices should also be tested at least once a month. Coupled with a family fire escape plan, operational smoke alarms can save lives.
In January of 2015, a new Florida statute took effect requiring all newly installed residential smoke alarms have a non-removable, non-replaceable battery that powers the alarm for at least 10 years. The law aims to phase out old smoke alarms in favor of the new, worry-free type that last for a decade without the need to replace batteries, according to Capt. Vitta.
Residents may purchase the newer model smoke alarms at any home improvement store, but if they still have the battery-operated kind that are less than 10 years old, they should continue to change the batteries twice a year.
For questions about residential smoke alarms, or for help changing a battery, call Lake County Fire Rescue at 352-343-9458.
For more official information about Lake County Fire Rescue, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/firerescue, www.facebook.com/LakeCountyFireRescue or www.twitter.com/lakefirePIO.