MOUNT VERNON — State Fire Marshal Michael P. Bell and fire chiefs across Knox County want to remind everyone to remember to change the batteries in their smoke detectors this weekend when they change the time on their clocks.
“Those things should be changed every six months and doing it at the same time the time on clocks are changed makes it real simple for everyone to remember,” Mount Vernon Fire Chief Shawn Christy said.
“The facts speak clearly — only a working smoke detector can save your life,” said Bell. “Ohioans can greatly reduce tragic fire deaths by performing the simple task of replacing smoke detector batteries.”
Fredericktown Fire Chief Scott Mast emphasized the incapacitating effects even a small amount of smoke can have on people.
“Just one breath of smoke can begin to debilitate someone,” Mast said. “Smoke detectors are designed to alert the residents while smoke is still at the ceiling level.”
Smoke alarms are designed to alert people while smoke is still high along the ceiling, so they have time to get out while breathing better air lower in the room.
“Typically, there will be cleaner air at the floor level,” Mast explained.
In the first two months of 2009, 21 Ohioans have perished in fires reported to the fire marshal. Working smoke detectors were found in only three of those fires.
Mast said installing, maintaining and properly placing smoke detectors throughout a home can prevent tragedy.
Christy stressed the importance of changing the batteries in every smoke detector twice a year, including those which are part of hardwired integrated systems in newer homes.
“If the electricity goes out during a fire, those detectors will be useless without working batteries,” Christy said.
“The county fire chiefs are currently in the process of soliciting donations for the purchase of smoke detectors for county residents who need assistance obtaining them,” Mast said. “We hope to have detectors available later this year.”