Public reminded to change smoke alarm and weather radio batteries

Ending of Daylight Saving Time on Nov. 1 marks a good time to check alarms

Image courtesy Sarasota County
Image courtesy Sarasota County

Approximately 70 percent of deaths in home fires occur in dwellings with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms, the Sarasota County fire marshal is reminding the public. “Smoke alarms can save lives — but only when they are working properly,” a county news release points out.

When people set their clocks on Sunday, Nov. 1, to mark the return to Eastern Standard Time, they also should think about their smoke alarms, county Fire Marshal John Reed says in the release.

The following safety tips could save lives, he adds:

• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside any sleeping areas, especially if you sleep with your bedroom door closed.

• Make a habit of replacing the batteries in your smoke alarm when you change your clocks for Eastern Standard Time. Make sure to mark Nov. 1 on your calendar.

• Keep smoke alarms clean. Dust can interfere with how they work. Regularly run a vacuum nozzle over your smoke alarm.

• The “chirping” noise you may hear could mean your battery is low. Replace the battery right away.

• Replace your smoke alarms about every 10 years. They do wear out, so write the purchase date with a marker on the back of the alarm. That way, you know when it should be replaced. If you have smoke alarms with a 10-year sealed battery, there is no need to replace the batteries in those units. The smoke alarm itself is good for 10 years and should be replaced once it reaches the end of its life span, based on the date of activation.

Weather radios are as important as smoke alarms in saving lives, Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane points out in the release.

County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane (left) addresses the County Commission. News Leader archive
County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane (left) addresses the County Commission. News Leader archive

“One only needs to look at the daily news to know it is important to be prepared to react when severe weather threatens,” McCrane adds.

“Tornadoes or severe thunderstorms can strike in a moment’s notice, and residents can be alerted by NOAA Weather Radio 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” so they can take quick action to protect themselves and their families, the release continues.

“Local weather reports and warnings are broadcast directly to these weather alert radio receivers around the clock by the National Weather Service (NWS), advising people of severe weather watches and warnings and buying extra time for them to react before dangerous storms hit their areas,” the release adds.

Look for weather radios that have SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding), a feature that allows the programming of only the counties from which one would want alerts, McCrane advises. Other than a weekly test, these radios will sound an alert only when the programmed counties send out warnings.

Weather alert radio batteries should be changed along with smoke alarm batteries, the release says.

To get help with the installation of a smoke alarm, or if you cannot afford one, call the Sarasota County Fire Prevention Office at 861-2290.