Daylight time or no, checking smoke alarms is a good idea

Thursday, March 8, 2018

We’ll spare readers a semi-annual rant about the stupidity of Daylight Saving Time — it really doesn’t save anything and, in fact, creates more problems than it solves.

Although “spring forward” is popular for those of us who like to use the extra hour for outdoor activities in the afternoon, we’d be tempted to endorse any candidate with a “dump DST” plank in their campaign platform.

As a reminder: Set your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed Saturday night, and adjust your bedtime accordingly to help mitigate the loss of sleep.

Cell phones and computers will probably reset themselves automatically if they’re set to use network time signals.

Even more important than resetting the clocks, however, is the reminder to test the batteries in your smoke alarms.

The American Red Cross is often called to help take care of Nebraska residents who are misplaced by house fires and knows how important it is to have safety equipment and plans in place.

“When you turn your clocks ahead this weekend, it’s a great time to also test your smoke alarms,” said Rachelle Lipker, Executive Director serving Central and Western Nebraska, “Take a few minutes to replace your smoke alarm batteries and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working.”

With the loss of at least one home and close calls for other homes and businesses, McCook-area residents shouldn’t need a reminder to check their smoke alarms.

Before you can test your smoke alarms, however, you have to have them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check local building codes for additional requirements.

* Practice an escape plan. Make sure everyone in the household knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.

* Get a kit. Keep disaster supplies in an easy-to-carry bag to use at home or carry in case ordered to evacuate.

* Make a plan. Have all household members plan what steps they should take if an emergency occurs.

* Be informed. Learn what emergencies can occur in the area and how officials notify residents should a disaster occur.

The Red Cross and partners have installed well over a million smoke alarms nationwide, credited with saving at least 438 lives. This year, they plan to install another 100,000 free smoke alarms in 100 cities between April 28 and May 13.

Even if there isn’t such a program in your local community, reliable smoke alarms are inexpensive and should be a top item on any shopping list.

A smoke detector tip sheet is available at http://bit.ly/2FDAf5t

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