Test Your Smoke Alarms with DST

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

It’s time to turn clocks ahead one hour as Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday at 2 a.m. The American Red Cross reminds everyone it’s also a good time to test the batteries in their smoke alarms as they turn their clocks ahead.

We know the potential life-saving warnings that smoke alarms provide, so it’s critical that when you turn your clocks ahead this weekend that you also test your smoke alarms,” says Joshua Joachim, regional chief executive for the Louisiana Red Cross. “Take a few minutes to replace your smoke alarm batteries and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working.”

It’s also a good time for everyone to take these steps to make sure their household is prepared for emergencies: Install smoke alarms. 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 household knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.

Next, 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.

“In addition to working smoke alarms, it is also important that families create and practice a fire escape plan,” Joachim said. “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.”

Home Fire Campaign, The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, launched in October 2014, is a multi-year nationwide initiative to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent. As of Jan. 31, 2017, the Red Cross and its partners have helped to save at least 159 lives and installed more than 702,000 smoke alarms in 9,100 cities and towns nationwide.

Working with more than 4,000 partners, the campaign has reached more than 806,000 people and made nearly 294,000 households safer, replacing more than 41,000 smoke alarm batteries and helping create more than 248,000 home fire escape plans. Through programs like The Pillowcase Project, the campaign also has helped teach more than 707,000 young people about home fire preparedness and safety.

The Louisiana Red Cross helped more than 1,800 families in the past year, including about 2,000 residents in the Capital Area, Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana. Of the 45 home fire-related deaths in Louisiana in 2016, according to the U.S. Fire Administration fire fatality report, 22 were in this Capital West area.

People can visit redcross.org/firesafety to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire and other emergencies. Contact your local Red Cross to find out about smoke alarm installation events here in south Louisiana.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its crucial mission. If someone would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Contributed Report