February 28, 2020

State fire marshal recommends changing smoke alarm batteries when clocks ‘spring ahead’ on March 8

American Red Cross and many local fire departments provide smoke alarms at no cost, yet 3 of 5 home fire deaths occur in residences without working smoke alarms

State Fire Marshal Tim Bean recommends Missourians use the return of daylight saving time next weekend as a reminder to change the batteries and test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their homes. At 2 a.m. Sunday, March 8, clocks ‘spring ahead’ one hour.

"Having working smoke alarms in your home is one of the best investments and most important things you can do to make your home safer and protect the people you love,” Fire Marshal Bean said. “Across Missouri, many fire departments will provide families with free smoke alarms and install them at no cost. You can also contact the American Red Cross, which will provide smoke alarms at no cost.”

The Red Cross’ “Sound the Alarm, Save a Life” program not only offers residents free smoke alarms, the alarms are installed by experts and families are trained on how to best escape their homes during a fire. Missouri residents can contact the Red Cross and request to participate in the program online at

Bean also recommended that families practice their home fire escape plan next weekend. He said every family member should know two escape routes from every room in their residence.

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

  • Three 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 alarm 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. Families should also select a safe gathering place outside the residence in the event of a fire.
  • Overnight guests should know two routes out of the house before going to bed. 


For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail