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Albemarle County Newsroom
 


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Albemarle County Fire Rescue with an Important Reminder: November 7, Change Your Clock Change Your Battery
11/3/2010

Daylight-saving time ends Sunday, November 7, and marks the 23rd anniversary of the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery® (CYCCYB) program, sponsored by Energizer and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, which reminds us to change and test the batteries in our smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. This message is simple and the habit can be lifesaving.

The Albemarle County Department of Fire Rescue reminds our residents that one easy step can help save their lives and the lives of those around them. Everyone is encouraged to use the extra hour they “gain” from daylight-saving time to change the batteries in their own smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, test the alarms and remind friends, family, neighbors and fellow community members to do the same.

Communities nationwide witness tragic home fire deaths each year, but, everyone can work together to help reduce the number of home fire fatalities. Approximately every three hours a home fire death occurs somewhere in the nation and 66 percent of those occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Non-working smoke alarms rob residents of the protective benefits home fire safety devices were designed to provide. The most commonly cited cause of non-working smoke alarms: worn or missing batteries.

“Eighty percent of child fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms. It’s a tragic statistic that could be reduced by adopting the simple habit of the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery program,” says Assistant Chief James Barber.

Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, testing those alarms and reminding others to do the
same are some of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. Additionally, the International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends that smoke alarms in homes should be replaced every 10 years and having both ionization and photo electric smoke alarms are best to alert people to all types of home fires.

Why This Program is Lifesaving
“The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are sleeping,” says Chief Barber. “Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely.”

In addition, Chief Barber recommends residents not only use the “extra” hour they save from the time change to test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and to plan and practice escape routes, but also to make sure fellow neighbors and community members do the same. Families should also prepare a fire safety kit that includes working flashlights and fresh batteries.

Tragically, home fires injure and kill thousands each year. Those most at risk include:

  • Children — On average, home fires kill 500 children ages 14 and under each year. Roughly three-quarters of child fire fatalities under age 15 occurred in homes without working smoke alarms.
  • Seniors — Adults 75 and older are 2.8 times more likely to die in a home fire.
  • Low-Income Households — Many low-income families are unable to afford batteries for their smoke alarms. These same households often rely on poorly installed, maintained or misused portable or area heating equipment — a main cause of fatal home fires.

Pass it On
Twenty-three years ago, Energizer and the International Association of Fire Chiefs recognized a disturbing trend that many home fire fatalities were taking place in homes without working smoke alarms. So through the years, the two have worked together along with thousands of fire departments nationwide on the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery® program to help reduce this number by reminding communities to check, change and test their smoke alarm batteries. This year, residents can take a simple step to protect themselves and also help local fire departments across the country protect families in need. Energizer is offering local communities an opportunity to join them in increasing the number of free batteries provided to fire departments for families in need.

Beginning Oct. 16, a visit to www.facebook.com/energizerbunny and a few simple clicks while on the site will help drive the number of batteries Energizer will donate to local fire departments, up to 400,000 batteries. In addition, people are encouraged to use their extra hour gained to help out at a local fire department. Eighty percent of fire departments are volunteer fire departments and they can often use extra hands to help with non-fire fighting related tasks. Reach out to your local fire department and see how you can help.

For more information about fire safety, call the Albemarle County Department of Fire Rescue or the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery hotline 314-727-5700, x108 or e-mail cyccyb@blickandstaff.com or call the International Association of Fire Chiefs at 703-273-0911 or email corporaterelations@iafc.org.


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