Red Cross reminder: Check smoke alarms when clocks spring forward

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Daylight Saving Time is this weekend and when those in our community turn their clocks ahead, the American Red Cross reminds them to also take these steps to make sure their household is prepared for emergencies.

“It’s imperative that your household is ready; home fires happen anywhere at any time,” said Bobbi Zaunbrecher, executive director for the Red Cross in the Louisiana Capital Area. “We urge you to take these steps now and know what to do if an emergency occurs. It protects you and your loved ones.”

Check smoke alarm batteries. When turning the clocks ahead, take a few minutes to replace the smoke alarm batteries and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working. It’s also a great time to check carbon monoxide detectors.

Install smoke alarms. If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check local building codes for additional requirements.

Practice an escape plan. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.

Get a kit. Keep disaster supplies in an easy-to-carry bag to use at home or carry in case ordered to evacuate.

Make a plan. Have all household members plan what steps they should take if an emergency occurs.

Be informed. Learn what emergencies can occur in the area and how officials notify residents should a disaster occur.

Home Fire Preparedness Campaign The Red Cross responds to 70,000 disasters across the country every year and most of these are home fires – with two more overnight in the Louisiana Capital Area. Tragically, some people lose their lives in these fires, countless others are injured. The Red Cross has launched the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25 percent over the next five years.

The campaign is happening all over the country and involves Red Cross workers joining with local fire departments and community groups to visit neighborhoods at high risk for fires. Those visits include educating people about fire safety through door-to-door visits and installation of smoke alarms in some of these neighborhoods.

Just last weekend Red Cross volunteers met with neighbors in Port Allen, reaching 350 families and receiving requests for more than 190 smoke alarms. The next effort will focus on neighbors who live in the southern portion of 70802 zip code. New volunteers are welcome to join the service project March 28, when the Red Cross will meet at 9 a.m. at the McKinley Alumni Center, 1520 Thomas H. Delpit.

In the Louisiana Capital Area, the Red Cross responded to help more than 500 families after home fires last year. You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.