Overnight this weekend, the country (most of it, that is) will again change its clocks from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. Clocks, watches, computers and more will be handled, dialed, push-buttoned, to provide an extra hour of sleep to most of the American public. It is a practice that the vast majority of us are use to, so what's the big deal?
As current and/or former firefighters/rescuers, we can use the semi-annual of time change to alert those in our communities that if they can be so concerned with their clocks, let them also take an important interest in the simple device that may not help them sleep later, but can save their lives - their smoke detectors!
While it is true that newer smoke detectors are often equipped with newer, lithium-ion batteries that can last up to ten years, hundreds of thousands of "standard" smoke detectors are still being used all around the country. Most of those use the standard 9-volt "transistor" or rectangular battery. Those batteries are available at almost every neighborhood market, supermarket, pharmacies and "big-box" stores. Replacing them in these older models is as simple as replacing batteries in a flashlight. So what's the big deal?
The problem is that most people need to be reminded to check and/or change those batteries twice a year. in the old days, testing the battery was done by simply pushing the "TEST" button on the outside of detector. Recently though, it was determined that that test may not suffice. While a powered battery is necessary, it is more important to know that the detection chamber works flawlessly. Use a simple match (not a butane lighter!), blow it out and let the smoke drift towards the chamber. If the alarm sounds, you will know your battery and chamber are working properly.
It has been proven over and over again:
Change Your Clocks - Change Your Batteries saves lives. You still have time to organize an group effort in your department to get the word out. Notify your local radio and television stations, as well as your local newspaper. Get out on to the main intersections in your community to promote the test or to actually give smoke detectors away.
Simply put, a working smoke detector saves lives.
And thanks to our friends at