The Ottawa Fire Department reminds homeowners to change the batteries in their smoke detectors at the same time they roll back their clocks.
“When you change your clocks for daylight-saving time, change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and please remind your friends, family and neighbors to do the same,” Capt. Dennis Nowatzke, public fire education coordinator with the Ottawa Fire Department, said in a news release. Twenty-five years ago, the International Association of Fire Chiefs recognized a disturbing trend that many home fire fatalities were taking place in homes without working smoke alarms, the news release said, so the “Change Your Clock Change Your Battery” program was developed to help reduce and hopefully, one day, eliminate this number.
Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fire structures in half, the release added.
“As a 24-year fire service veteran, I have witnessed first-hand the tragedy and devastation of home fires,” Nowatzke said. “It’s even more heartbreaking when a young life is cut short. Thousands are injured and killed each year from home fires. Overall, almost 66 percent of home fire deaths in this country occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Considering that residential fire deaths peak in winter months, it’s critical to check and change your smoke alarm batteries each and every fall.”
People who need smoke detectors, but cannot afford them, should call the Ottawa Fire Department at (785) 229-3700 or go to the fire station at 720 W. Second St., Ottawa, Nowatzke said.
“We have free smoke detectors that were made available by the 2011-2012 Leadership Franklin County class,” he said. “The detectors are available for all Franklin County residents. We will even install them for city of Ottawa residents.”