Time to ‘spring forward’ this weekend, and check those smoke alarms

DES MOINES — Daylight Saving Time starts Sunday and as Iowans move their clocks forward an hour on Saturday night, Emily Holley with the Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross, suggests you do a quick safety check of your smoke alarms, too.

“We’re recommending that everyone tests their smoke alarms and replace the batteries if needed,” Holley says. “A smoke alarm that is 10 years old or older definitely needs to be replaced. And we want to make sure that everyone has working smoke alarms on every level of the home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.”

Last year, Red Cross volunteers helped more than 1,800 people in Iowa who were affected by 584 home fires. Nationwide, home fires account for most of the 65,000 disasters to which the Red Cross responds.

Holley says every second counts when there’s a fire, so making sure those smoke alarms are working is key.

“We also recommend folks take the time to practice a two-minute home fire escape. It’s critical that you have escape routes out of your home and a joint meeting place,” Holley says. “Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half, and on average, you only have about two minutes to get out of the home.”

She says you should have at least two ways to get out of every room, and select a spot at a safe distance away from your home, like a tree or mailbox, where everyone can meet.

For more information, download the free Red Cross Emergency app by searching “American Red Cross” in app stores.