Daylight saving time calls for clocks to be set ahead this coming Sunday; if you’re like a lot of people (including this writer), you’ll been struggling to keep your eyes open for a few days, struggling to get through the workweek.

But as you’re adjusting to the time change there is something you can do: Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Replacing smoke alarm batteries every six months is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce tragic fire deaths and injuries. Even smoke detectors that are hardwired into your house may still have a battery in them so that they will operate in the event of a power failure.

In addition to changing the batteries, it is important to remember that smoke detectors are only good for ten years. If your smoke detector was installed before 2002, it needs to be replaced. Here are some other tips:

Test your smoke detector at least once a month.

Dust or vacuum your smoke detector to prevent buildup which could cause it to become non-operational.

If you hear a chirping sound, immediately change the battery.

Along with having an operational smoke detector, you must know how to exit your home in the event of fire. Practice home fire drills and be sure to have a designated meeting place.

If you have questions, or need assistance in changing your batteries, call your local fire department; they can offer help, and may go so far as to change your batteries for you if you can’t. You can also visit the website for the U.S. Fire Administration at: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/campaigns/smokealarms/alarms/index.shtm. It’s such a little thing to do – but one that go a long way in perhaps saving you from a future tragedy.

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