Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery
10/01/2004

HELP SAVE LIVES IN YOUR COMMUNITY
REMIND YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS
TO ADOPT A SIMPLE LIFESAVING CHANGE

FRESNO, CA (October 1, 2004) As the time change approaches this fall, the Fresno Fire Department wants to remind residents to make another change that could save their lives—changing the batteries in their smoke alarms.

Communities nationwide witness tragic home fire deaths each year. An average of three children per day die in home fires and 80 percent of those occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Non-working smoke alarms rob residents of the protective benefits home fire safety devices were designed to provide. The most commonly cited cause of non-working 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. In fact, working smoke alarms nearly cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire. The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends replacing your smoke alarms every ten years.

To save lives and prevent needless injuries in Fresno, the Fresno Fire Department has joined forces with the International Association of Fire Chiefs and Energizer for the 17 th year of the Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery campaign. The program urges all Americans to adopt a simple, lifesaving habit: changing smoke alarm batteries when changing clocks back to standard time each fall, this year on October 31.

“The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping,” says Chief Randy Bruegman. “Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely.

In addition, Chief Bruegman recommends residents use the “extra” hour they save from the time change to test smoke alarms by pushing the test button, planning “two ways out” and practicing escape routes with the entire family. Families should also prepare a fire safety kit that includes working flashlights and fresh batteries.

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

  • Children—Approximately 1,000 children under the age of 20 die each year in home fires. 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 I 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; those over 85 are 4.5 times more likely to die in a home fire. Many seniors are unable to escape quickly.
  • Low-Income Households—May 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.

Daniel G. Hobbs, City Manager
Contact: Ken Shockley, Public Affairs Officer: (559) 621-7777