FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 30, 2018


State fire marshal recommends Missourians use hour gained on Sunday to test smoke alarms, change batteries

Vast majority of Missouri home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms

State Fire Marshal Tim Bean encourages Missourians to use part of the hour they will gain as clocks “fall back” on Sunday to test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, change the batteries and practice their family fire escape plan.

“The overwhelming majority of fire deaths in Missouri this year have occurred in homes without any smoke alarm at all or where the alarms did not work, usually because of dead batteries,” Fire Marshal Bean said. “One of the single best investments you can make in your family’s safety is to make sure you have working smoke and CO alarms.” 

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, clocks fall back one hour as daylight saving time ends, providing us with an extra hour to think about fire safety.

Bean said that many Missouri fire departments will provide free smoke alarms and even install them in residents’ homes. He suggested residents call their local fire department.

Across the nation, according to the United States Fire Administration:

  • Three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms.
  • Thirty-eight percent of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarm was in the home.
  • The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.
  • One-half of home fire deaths occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep.

Bean also reminds Missourians that they should have carbon monoxide alarms for their homes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas that results from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, which can be deadly if undetected.

The fire marshal makes these recommendations:

  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years because they lose their effectiveness over time.
  • Install additional smoke alarms if you don’t have a minimum of one on every level of the home, inside all bedrooms and outside bedrooms.
  • Plan two different escape routes from your home and practice the routes with the entire family.
  • Each family member should know two routes out of each room in the residence and know where the family will gather outside in the event of a fire.
  • Overnight guests should know two routes out of the house before going to bed.
  • Remember, batteries removed from smoke and CO alarms don’t have to be discarded. They can be used in other devices that are not critical to your safety. 


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For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail mike.o'connell@dps.mo.gov