And did you forget?
Nov 04, 2012 | 619 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Those who awoke this morning with shocked expressions over rising an hour too early probably forgot to set back household clocks and personal watches Saturday night as we bid yet another farewell to Daylight Saving Time.

Of course, thanks to today’s new and improved “Smart” technology many electronic mechanisms, gizmos and cellphones harboring at least 100 functions, or more, probably reset themselves.

For those that didn’t, and for their owners who forgot, let us offer this mild reprimand ... “Shame, shame.”

Perhaps the hour you gained, without your knowledge, can best be used taking care of another home chore that is even more important.

We speak of home smoke alarms whose batteries should be replaced each time the hands of a clock are changed — forward or backward. Whether one is springing forward — as is done each spring — or falling back, which was supposed to have been done at 2 a.m. today, one should also pull out some new batteries.

In the lingo of fire departments, whose spot-on reminders help to save lives every year, it is called “Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery.”

It is not complicated. After changing all the clocks and watches in the home, go immediately to the smoke alarms and the carbon monoxide detectors. Don’t wait a few more weeks or months for the irritating “beep” that signals a dead battery in such alarms. Go ahead and make the change. And feel good, and safer, about your decision.

Here’s why.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs reports 38 percent of home fire fatalities occur in households that do not include a working smoke alarm.

Here’s more.

The same IAFC organization also reports 24 percent of home fire fatalities occur in households in which at least one smoke alarm is present; however, it has failed to operate. In most cases, the cause for this failure is dead or missing batteries.

Here’s the heartbreak.

IAFC tells us most home fire fatalities occur between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. That’s because most families are sleeping. When a dead or missing battery prevents a smoke alarm from operating as it should, the slumbering loved ones are left helpless. And tragedy ensues.

In the world of firefighting, it is called a preventable death. People didn’t have to die. Serious injuries could have been avoided. Emergency teams might have saved the house, if only a 911 dispatcher had been contacted.

We take no pleasure in issuing mindful reminders about actions that should be obvious nor do we take too lighthearted of an approach to the importance of refreshing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with new, and operable, batteries.

The importance of making these changeouts speaks to why emergency responders recommend doing it during a time change. The rationale is that everybody keeps up with the time. So they might as well keep up with the batteries in the same breath.

Do the time. Change the batteries. Save a life.

No need to believe us. Here’s what a professional recently told our newspaper. He is Steve Haun, Cleveland fire chief.

“Every year, preventable fires kill people nationwide,” he warned. “Tennessee has one of the highest fire death rates in the nation.”

He adds, “Nonworking smoke alarms offer a false sense of protection to residents and place them at risk for death or serious injury from unwanted fires in the home.”

It’s not too late.

Whether or not you changed your clocks Saturday night, go change the batteries today.

Besides, you’ll eventually catch up with lost time.

But only if you’re alive.