Firefighters remind people to change smoke detector batteries - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Firefighters remind people to change smoke detector batteries

Posted: Updated:
LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) -

While you are setting the time on your clock back take the time to protect the ones you love by changing the batteries in your smoke detector. During daylight savings time, Coast firefighters and the American Red Cross are reminding people that smoke alarms can save lives but only if they're working correctly.

Red Cross officials said last year the South Mississippi chapter responded to more than 350 house fires. Officials said this time of year can be especially dangerous.

When responding to a house fire, firefighters use positive pressure ventilators to clear the house of smoke. Long Beach firefighters said heavy smoke can make it difficult for families to escape their homes safely.

"The biggest risk in a fire usually happens before the fire gets too intense," said firefighter Craig Ahlers. "The smoke makes it hard for us to breathe. Then we have a hard time with visibility as far as getting out of a house. So it's very important to have those batteries changed at least twice a year."

Firefighters said daylight savings is a convenient reminder for the twice a year battery change. They said especially over the Fall and Winter, the chance of a home catching fire increases.

"A majority of the fires are at night especially when people are using space heaters at night when the temperature goes down," said Ahlers. "They have them going good to keep themselves warm and cozy. Without a smoke detector chances are if a fire breaks out you're going to have a hard time getting out."

Ahlers said, "Another bad thing about this time of year is people use extension chords. They plug in surge protectors and have four or five different chords plugged into one outlet. That heats up the outlet and makes it a fire risk."

The Long Beach Fire Department distributes free smoke detectors to the elderly and low income. They don't recommend detectors in the kitchen because they'll go off frequently and people will likely become annoyed and take the batteries out.

"We recommend you put it in the next room adjacent to the kitchen so if the smoke does get to thick it will at least trip off the smoke detector in the adjacent room," Ahlers said. "Smoke detectors should always be put in every bedroom and adjacent to every bedroom so if you have a hall way leading to the bedroom, you need one in the bedroom and in the hallway.

Martha Duvall, Communications Officer for Red Cross said,  "Mississippi residents can take simple actions to reduce the risk of a home fire tragedy by installing and maintaining a smoke alarm on every level of their home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Smoke alarms provide us with a few minutes of advance warning in the event of a home fire and the extra time can save lives."

Here are some safety tips from the American Red Cross.

  • Check smoke alarms monthly by pushing the test button. 
  • Install a new battery immediately if an alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low. 
  • Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear it. 
  • Never disable a smoke alarm.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • LOCALLOCALMore>>

  • State auditor's office begins review of Hattiesburg audit

    State auditor's office begins review of Hattiesburg audit

    Monday, July 14 2014 6:46 PM EDT2014-07-14 22:46:49 GMT
    The state auditor's office has begun the process of reviewing the city of Hattiesburg's annual audit, according to spokesperson Brett Kittredge. "There were some serious findings, and that's why theyMore >>
    A letter dated July 11to auditor Stacey Pickering from council president Kim Bradley said the independent review was sought "to verify the audit findings and to determine whether the qualified opinions are merited."More >>
  • Southern Miss football at Conference USA media day

    Southern Miss football at Conference USA media day

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:11 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:11:13 GMT
    Members of the Southern Miss football program traveled to Irving, Texas this afternoon for Conference USA media day and the Golden Eagles had plenty to talk about. The first topic? What it felt like toMore >>
    Members of the Southern Miss football program traveled to Irving, Texas this afternoon for Conference USA media day and the Golden Eagles had plenty to talk about.More >>
  • Exploration Camp at William Carey draws 40 tweens, teens, and youngsters

    Exploration Camp at William Carey draws 40 tweens, teens, and youngsters

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:23 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:23:07 GMT
    No matter eight years old, or eighteen years old, there's a creative place to explore at William Carey University's Exploration Camp. The workshop encourages students to explore and develop their creativeMore >>
    No matter eight years old, or eighteen years old, there's a creative place to explore at William Carey University's Exploration Camp. The workshop encourages students to explore and develop their creativeMore >>