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Test and turn: Check those smoke detector batteries this weekend as we fall back

clock and fire alarm
The American Red Cross reminds people to check their smoke detectors when turning the clocks back.

  • The Red Cross is reminding people to use the end of daylight saving to test smoke alarms and change batteries if needed
  • The nonprofit says changing the clocks twice a year can serve as a life-saving reminder
  • Daylight saving ends Sunday, Nov. 5

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Here’s your reminder: test those smoke detectors and change the batteries if needed.
That’s the message once again from the American Red Cross as we turn back the clocks this weekend.

Daylight saving ends Sunday, Nov. 5, and the nonprofit uses the time change to remind people about a potentially life-saving task.

“Home fires claim more lives every year than all natural disasters combined, but working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half,” said Jorge Martinez, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Greater Pennsylvania.

“The sooner an alarm alerts you to a fire, the sooner you can get out. When you turn your clocks back this weekend, test your smoke alarms too to help prevent a tragedy in your home.”

The agency uses the time when the clock springs forward an hour or falls back an hour to urge people to take extra fire safety measures.

In addition to checking the batteries on smoke detectors, the Red Cross advises people to make an escape plan and practice that plan with their families.

The American Red Cross offers these fire prevention and safety tips:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. Components including sensors can become less sensitive over time. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer's instructions. 
  • Practice your two-minute home fire escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to escape a burning home before it’s too late.
  • Include at least two ways to get out of every room and select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or a landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone can meet. 

Each year, most of the 60,000 disasters the Red Cross responds to nationally are house fires. They help people who may not have a smoke detector acquire and install one.