The Howard County (MD) Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) would like to remind residents to stay safe this weekend as they prepare for Halloween and to “Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery.” With daylight saving time ending the day after Halloween, this is a great time to talk to your family about fire safety. Be sure to use Halloween decorations and costumes that do not present fire hazards. It’s also important to ensure that your home has working smoke alarms.
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“Your first line of defense against a house fire is a smoke alarm – a working smoke alarm,” said Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “Keep your family safe by changing out your smoke alarm batteries this weekend as you change your clocks. Doing so will double your chances of surviving a home fire. And, if you have a carbon monoxide detector, check that battery too.”
It is recommended by the National Fire Protection Agency that smoke alarms be placed on every level of the home and inside every sleeping area. It is also best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
“All too often our firefighters and paramedics respond to fires in homes that do not have working smoke alarms,” said Fire Chief John S. Butler. “Fire prevention starts by simply testing smoke alarms monthly, and tragedies can be reduced if everyone remembers to ‘Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery.’”
HCDFRS would like to advise citizens to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as daylight saving time ends this Sunday, November 1st. Also, be sure to remember these important safety tips while celebrating Halloween:
- Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
- Wear costumes that are short, snug and flame retardant.
- Keep decorations away from all open flames and heat sources.
- Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout your home so that when one sounds, they all sound.
- Replace the entire alarm if it’s more than 10 years old or doesn’t work properly when tested. Remember the new state law requires a 10-year lifespan smoke alarm which contains a 10-year, sealed-in battery.
- When planning a party or haunted house, remember to keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Test smoke alarms monthly. Dust or vacuum alarms when you change the batteries.