Daylight Saving Time’s start on March 14 a good mark for changing smoke alarm and weather radio batteries, county Emergency Services leaders say

Fire Chief Regnier encourages people to take precautions that could save lives

Image courtesy Sarasota County

With Daylight Saving Time beginning on Sunday, March 14, Sarasota County Emergency Services personnel are reminding the public that that is a good time “to take precautions that could help protect homes and loved ones by changing out batteries in smoke alarms and weather radios.”

Almost three of every five home fire deaths between 2014 and 2018 resulted from incidents in residences with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that were not working, the National Fire Prevention Association has reported, as noted in a county news release.

“Smoke alarms can save lives by providing an early warning signal in the event of an emergency,” the release points out. “Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms in a home can give residents a chance to escape.”

Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier noted in the release that the following safety tips also could help save lives:

  • Make it a habit to replace the batteries in smoke alarms when adjusting clocks for the time change.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of a home, as well as inside and outside any sleeping areas.
  • “Test smoke alarms monthly to ensure they are working properly. A ‘chirping’ sound from a smoke alarm indicates the battery needs to be changed immediately,” the release says.
  • Smoke alarms are good for 10 years; then, they should be replaced. “Writing the purchase date with a marker on the back of the smoke alarm helps remind you when it has reached its 10-year life span,” the release notes.
  • When someone is in the path of severe weather, “minutes can be the difference between life and death,” the release points out. “Weather radios will activate for severe weather watches and warnings, giving residents extra time to react before dangerous weather hits.”

Sarasota County Emergency Services officials recommend members of the public use weather radios that have Specific Area Message Encoding, the release also says. “Other than a weekly test,” the release explains, the radio will sound an alert only “when there are concerns for the programmed counties.”

For additional information regarding weather radios, call the county Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit

“If you cannot afford a smoke alarm,” or if you would like information on smoke alarms, contact the Sarasota County Fire Prevention Office at 941-861-2290, the release adds.