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Thursday, March 10, 2011

CAL FIRE Reminds Californians - Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries

Smoke alarms are such a common feature in homes across California that it is easy to take them for granted. Tragically, nearly two-thirds of residential fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. To help reduce these loses, CAL FIRE and the Office of the State Fire Marshal want to remind all Californians to change the batteries in their smoke alarms when turning their clocks forward Saturday night in observance of Daylight Saving Time.

When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected or dead.

"Working smoke alarms greatly reduce the likelihood of residential fire-related fatalities by providing an early audible warning, alerting occupants and giving them an opportunity to safely escape," said Acting State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover.

That's critical because 85 percent of all fire deaths occur in the home with the majority happening at night when most people are asleep. The truth of this sad statistic was born out early this month when a father and son died during an early morning fire that destroyed their Crestline home.

"Smoke alarms unquestionably help to save lives, but a smoke alarm can do nothing without a working battery inside of it" said Chief Ken Pimlott, acting Director of CAL FIRE. "Just a few minutes twice a year to change a battery can truly mean the difference between life and death."

CAL FIRE has the following tips on smoke alarms:

  • Test smoke alarms once a month.

  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms twice a year.

  • Don't "borrow" or remove batteries from smoke alarms even temporarily.

  • Regularly vacuum or dust smoke alarms to keep them working properly.

  • Replace smoke alarms every ten years.

  • Don't paint over smoke alarms.

  • Practice Family fire drills so everyone knows what to do if the smoke alarm goes off.

For more information visit the CAL FIRE web site at