Thursday, March 5, 2009

Spring Forward & Test your Fire Alarm

It is that time of year again. Time to spring forward your clocks one hour this weekend. And while you are transitioning into spring, now is a great time to check the status of your smoke alarm.

We had far too many fatalities due to residential fires in Snohomish County last year. The most commonly cited cause of nonworking smoke alarms: worn or missing batteries.

Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk.

Tragically, fire can kill selectively. Those most at risk include:

■ Children — Children under age five are at twice the risk of dying in a home fire. Eighty percent of fatal home fire victims who were children were killed in homes without working smoke alarms.

■ Seniors — Adults over age 75 are three times more likely to die in home fires than the rest of the population. Many seniors are unable to escape quickly. If you have seniors in your life who might not hear as well as they used to, they may not wake to a typical alarm. There are smoke alarms designed for people who are hard of hearing.

■ 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. Many local fire departments have smoke alarms and batteries available.

With just a few simple steps, you can cut your chances of dying in a house fire by half. Be sure to thoroughly test those batteries this weekend. We care about you!