Feeling groggy with the time change as you just lost an hour of sleep? I have a surefire way to wake yourself up today. Take down your smoke detector, change the battery and press the test button to see if it works. Instant alertness! But really, you should do it.
When it's time to change the clocks, it's also time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. It's an easy way to remember to change them. In fact, if you're not testing your smoke detector monthly by pressing that little (noisy!) test button, you're putting your family in danger. How quickly do the batteries die in your kids' gear? Have you been out of your house long enough in the past month so that the warning beep dies as well? It's possible.
Fear aside, make the most of this sleepy, time-confused day and change the batteries in your smoke detector.
- Don't use rechargeable batteries in your smoke detectors. Use regular alkaline batteries. Your detector probably takes a 9 Volt.
- If your smoke detector is older than ten years, replace it. Consider changing to a photoelectric smoke alarm. In fact, get a combo smoke and carbon monoxide detector while you're at it. They are important too.
- Smoke detectors should be placed in every bedroom, outside sleeping areas and on every floor of your house. I know it seems like a lot, especially if you have a smaller house, but this is really one of those "better safe than sorry" type of situations.
- Make sure you can hear the alarm. Make sure your kids can hear the alarm. Test it with them, tell them not to be scared of it and explain what to do if it goes off. (Feel the door for heat, follow your fire evacuation plan. Don't have one? Make one today. Energizer has a fire evacuation plan grid for you to use.)
No one wants to think about a fire. No one. But in the past week, I've learned of two horrific stories in which children died. Seven children died in Pennsylvania during an early morning house fire. And Renee at FIMBY (Fun In My Back Yard) shared that friends of hers lost two children in a house fire. I hugged my kids a little tighter after I read about each one and said a prayer for their parents and other family members.
It can happen to anyone, at any time -- even if you're a firefighter family. No one is exempt. That's why it is so important to change those batteries, test them monthly and make sure your family knows what to do in the event of a fire.
Maybe you know all of this. Maybe you changed the batteries last night while you were changing your clocks to ready yourself for the time change. Maybe you're one of those well-organized people whom the rest of us tease but are secretly jealous of. If so, call your parents and especially your grandparents to make sure they have changed the batteries in their detectors. If you have kids in college or living on their own for the first time, send them some batteries in the mail tomorrow. If you know of any elderly people who maybe can't reach their own detectors, offer to stop by and help them or remind them that their local fire department can help change batteries.
So tell me: Did you or will you change your smoke detector batteries today? I ask because I had to pester one of our Contributing Editors for quite some time before she even bought smoke detectors. Do I need to pester you as well? I will!
Photo Credit: FireSafety.gov | Original for BlogHer
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