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South Dakota Fire Marshal urges residents to check fire alarms

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Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 11:34 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - When it comes to Daylight Saving Time this weekend, South Dakota safety officials say there is more to it than just changing the clocks.

Daylight Saving Time starts at 2 a.m. local time Sunday morning. That means pushing clocks ahead one hour.

But state Fire Marshal Paul Merriman says this is also a good time to change the batteries in smoke alarms. He says the alarms can save lives.

Merriman said statistics from the National Fire Protection Association indicate:

  • From 2014 through 2018, smoke alarms sounded in more than half (54%) of the home fires that were reported to U.S. fire departments.
  • Almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (41%) or no working smoke alarms (16%).
  • The death rate per 1,000 in reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms compared to the rate in homes with working smoke alarms (13.0 deaths vs. 5.8 deaths per 1,000 fires).
  • In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, two of every five (41%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.
  • Dead batteries caused more than one-quarter (26%) of the smoke alarm failures.

Merriman said the same good advice goes with carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, Merriman says CO can kill before people are aware that it is in their home.

Residents can check their smoke or carbon monoxide alarms by pushing the test button on the alarm. Merriman said if the alarm doesn’t sound, the batteries should be replaced.

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