Clock change perfect time to check detectors too

Photo by Wayne Towner Firefighters Jeremiah Moyers, left, and Adam Delbaugh, right, put up a banner in front of Parkersburg Fire Station 1 on Friday at the Parkersburg Municipal Building. Officials are urging residents to check the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors this weekend with the ending of daylight-saving time early Sunday morning.

PARKERSBURG — With daylight-saving time set to end tonight, the Parkersburg Fire Department is urging residents to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and to change their batteries.

Daylight-saving time officially ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, when clocks will fall back one hour.

Fire Chief Jason Matthews said the Parkersburg Fire Department has adopted the slogan “Change Your Clock, Change Your Batteries” and has spent the past week putting up nine banners in areas of high traffic around the city.

The department purchased six more banners but they weren’t available in time for this weekend so there will be 15 banners to put out in the spring when daylight-saving time returns, he said.

For 30 years, Energizer has partnered with the International Association of Fire Chiefs to keep families safe through the Change Your Clock, Change Your Batteries program.

“During this time, fire departments work to remind people of the simple, life saving habit of changing the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when setting the clocks back for daylight-saving time,” he said.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that 71 percent of the smoke alarms which failed to operate had missing, disconnected or dead batteries, he said.

Among recommendations for smoke detectors:

* Have a working smoke alarm on every level and in every bedroom of the house

* Test the smoke alarms at least once a month

* Replace the batteries when changing clocks for daylight-saving time

* Replace smoke alarms after 10 years from the manufacturer’s date.

Those needing assistance with changing batteries in smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors can contact the Parkersburg Fire Department. To schedule battery replacements, Parkersburg residents can call the chief’s office at 304-424-8470.

For those without smoke alarms in their homes, Matthews said, the Parkersburg Fire Department has a free smoke alarm program available for qualifying residents of Parkersburg. Through grants, smoke alarms are available for installation at no charge. Those wishing to see if they qualify can contact the fire department at 304-424-8470 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

“We’re there to assist them if they need it,” he said.

In 2016, Matthews said, the PFD installed over 500 smoke alarms in over 100 homes.

“A couple of weeks ago, we did some canvassing in neighborhoods and we installed in 40 homes over 150 detectors. For the year, we’re well over 400 for this year,” he said.

“I would like to see us do a lot more. It’s based on us sending fliers out and canvassing neighborhoods, just making people aware that we have the program. We have plenty of smoke alarms available and we would be glad to come out and install them for free for anyone who qualifies,” he said.

Matthews said the department’s smoke alarm program has been in place for about 10 years and those who participated in the first years may be able to qualify for replacement alarms based on the 10-year replacement recommendation.

The American Red Cross West Virginia Region, in conjunction with the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office, also installs smoke alarms at no charge for any resident of Wood County. To schedule an appointment with the Red Cross, call 844-216-8286.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office said that in addition to changing batteries, this is a good time to create or update home fire safety plans. Every family should have a fire safety plan, ensuring that every family member is prepared if an emergency occurs.

State Fire Marshal Ken Tyree is asking residents to be vigilant,

“Smoke alarms make a measurable difference in reducing deaths and injuries from fire. Having operational smoke alarms within every home is an answer to every citizen and first responder’s concern,” he said.