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October 31, 2014

BISMARCK, ND – Daylight savings ends this weekend and State Fire Marshal Ray Lambert reminds all North Dakotans that when the clocks change, it’s a good time to change the batteries and test the smoke alarms in your home.

“In less than three minutes a home can be totally engulfed in fire. Working smoke alarms provide early warning detection, allowing more time to escape a fire,” said Lambert.

In North Dakota there were ten fire-related fatalities last year. Six of the ten fatalities occurred in residential fires.  Fire-related losses totaled more than $33 million in 2013.

Lambert recommends that homeowners install smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside every bedroom, and outside each sleeping area. He offered the following suggestions to help homeowners:

  • Test smoke alarms once a month, replace the batteries at least once a year, and replace the whole unit every 8-10 years. If an alarm with a non-replaceable battery begins to chirp, replace the entire alarm right away.
  • Smoke alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level.
  • When cooking, use back burners when possible and keep pot handles turned to the inside so they don’t stick out over the front of the stove. If left within reach, a curious child might grab or tip the pot over onto them. Check stoves and other kitchen appliances before going to bed or leaving your home, to make sure that everything is turned off.

In case of fire, Lambert said it is important that everyone reacts quickly and calmly to escape. He recommends that parents develop a home escape plan identifying two ways out of each room, a meeting place outside, and a way to contact the fire department once you are outside. Practice the plan at least once a year, to make sure that everyone knows what to do if the smoke alarm sounds.

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