Change your clocks, change your smoke alarms Sunday

When you change your clocks from daylight saving time on Sunday, Nov. 6, South County Fire encourages you to check your smoke alarm batteries too.

Every second counts in a home fire. Once the smoke alarm sounds, you may have less than three minutes to safely escape. Working smoke alarms save lives, cutting the risk of dying in a home fire in half, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The most common cause of non-working smoke alarms is worn or missing batteries. To protect your home and family:

– Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

– Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.

– Smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If the alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away. If it still chirps, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.

– When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of recommended batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturer’s instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.

– All smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years because they lose their ability to detect fire or smoke over time. This includes hard-wired alarms.

– Install smoke alarms in every room where a person sleeps, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.

– Close your bedroom door before you go to sleep. A closed door can slow the spread of fire and smoke and make a lifesaving difference.

– Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of each level of the home. Show all doors and windows. Go to each room and point to the two ways out. Designate an outside meeting place that is in front of and a safe distance away from your home.\

– In a fire, once you’re out, stay out. Under no circumstances should you go back into a burning building. If a person or pet is missing, inform the 911 dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.

Learn more at South County Fire’s website: If you have questions or need assistance with your smoke alarms, contact South County Fire Outreach, 425-320-5800 or

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