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Expert: Turn clocks back, check smoke alarms

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

COVINGTON -- If it seems like it's too dark when you wake up in the morning, daylight will come earlier next week. This Sunday at 2 a.m. will signal the end of daylight saving time and residents are reminded to move their clocks back one hour, thus returning to Eastern Standard Time.

This is also the time of year that fire safety experts remind residents to change the batteries in their smoke alarms.

"Eighty-three percent of all civilian fire-related deaths are a result of home fires, and on average, home fires kill 540 children ages 14 and under each year," warns Newton County Fire Service Fire Safety Educator Lt. Cydnie Taylor. "An early warning can provide critical extra seconds to escape. Smoke alarms double your family's chance of getting out of a home fire alive -- but only if they work."

Taylor said the NCFS partners with the "Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery" program each year, along with Energizer and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

"When you turn your clocks back on Nov. 7, make a lifesaving change in your household -- change your batteries in your smoke alarms," she said. "This simple habit takes just a moment, but it is the best defense your family has against the devastating effects of a home fire."

Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine said so far this year there have been 19 fire fatalities in Georgia with no smoke detectors and two fatalities involving non-working smoke detectors.

The U.S. Fire Administration offers the following smoke alarm facts:

* Smoke alarms powered by long-lasting batteries are designed to replace the entire unit, according to manufacturer's instructions.

* In standard-type battery-powered smoke alarms, the batteries need to be replaced at least once per year and the whole unit should be replaced every eight to 10 years.

* In hard-wired, battery-backup smoke alarms, the batteries need to be checked monthly and replaced at least once per year. The entire unit should be replaced every eight to 10 years.