Spring forward with time change, fresh batteries

PARKERSBURG – With the time change on Sunday morning, residents are reminded to change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, too, officials said.

Daylight Savings Time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday when clocks must be moved forward one hour.

It’s a good time to change batteries, said Chief Eric Taylor of the Parkersburg Fire Department.

The fire department received a donation of 800 batteries from Batteries Direct for the time change for those who need assistance or cannot afford their own batteries, Taylor said. The department assists with installing detectors or changing batteries in detectors for the physically challenged, elderly and low-income households within city limits.

A smoke detector should be installed on each level of the home and near sleeping areas, Capt. Tim Flinn, chief inspector for the department, said. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed near any gas appliance and where any appliance vents throughout the home, Flinn said.

These devices have a maximum life efficiency and should be replaced within the manufacturer’s recommended time frame, Flinn said. A general rule of thumb lists carbon monoxide detectors with a five-year lifespan and smoke detectors with up to 10 years of useful life, Flinn said.

It is estimated that up to 20 percent of American homes do not have working smoke alarms, usually because the batteries have been removed or have died in otherwise good units, Flinn said.

Two-thirds of annual residential fire deaths occur in homes that do not have properly installed or maintained fire alarms, Flinn said.

The primary reason for people to disable their smoke alarms by removing the batteries is nuisance activations of the units, Flinn said. These nuisance activations occur when the alarm trips repeatedly, Flinn said.

Instead of disabling the smoke alarm that activates from everyday situations, the unit should be moved further away from the source of the activation, Flinn said. These sources are usually steam from showers, sinks and stoves, he said.

While you are changing your batteries, take the time to refresh your family’s fire escape plan, Flinn said. This plan should be reviewed with your family members, including how to escape from different parts of the home and where the family should meet away from the home in case of emergency, Flinn said.

Once the fire escape plan has been reviewed, test your children’s understanding of it by activating a fire alarm while they are asleep, Flinn said. Their response to the non-emergency situation will help you determine where changes need to be made to your fire escape plan, Flinn said.

Anyone who needs assistance inside Parkersburg with installing or maintaining their smoke alarms is encouraged to call 304-424-8470.