Daylight saving time begins Sunday, March 8, and Sarasota County Emergency Services personnel are reminding the public that it's a good time to take precautions that could help protect homes and loved ones by changing out batteries in smoke alarms and weather radios. Nearly three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms, and dead batteries caused 25 percent of smoke alarm failures, according the National Fire Prevention Association. Smoke alarms can save lives by providing an early warning signal in the event of an emergency. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms in a home can give residents a chance to escape. The start of daylight saving time is a good reminder to change batteries in smoke alarms and weather radios.
According to Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier, these safety tips could also 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 the 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.
• Smoke alarms are good for 10 years before 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.
When in the path of severe weather, such as a tornado, minutes can be the difference between life and death. Weather radios will activate for severe weather watches and warnings, giving residents extra time to react before dangerous storms hit.
Sarasota County Emergency Services officials recommend using weather radios that have Specific Area Message Encoding. Other than a weekly test, the radio will only alert when there are concerns for the programmed counties. For additional information regarding weather radios, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at (941) 861-5000. If you cannot afford a smoke alarm, or for information on smoke alarms, contact Sarasota County Fire Prevention Office at (941) 861-2290.