October 31, 2019

Use extra hour this weekend to test smoke alarms and change batteries

State fire marshal urges Missourians without working smoke alarms to contact local fire departments or American Red Cross to obtain smoke alarms at no cost

State Fire Marshal Tim Bean encourages Missourians to take advantage of the hour they will gain this weekend as clocks “fall back” and test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, change alarm batteries and practice their family fire escape plans.

“When people are awake, smoke alarms provide you and your family with an early warning of a fire, giving you more time to escape,” Fire Marshal Bean said. “But even more importantly, one-half of home fire deaths occur overnight, while people are sleeping and might not awake until it’s too late. Smoke alarms are absolutely essential in every home.

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, clocks fall back one hour as daylight saving time ends, providing us with an extra hour to think about fire safety.

Bean urged Missourians without working smoke alarms to take advantage of free smoke alarms offered by many local fire departments and the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross’ “Sound the Alarm, Save a Life” program not only offers residents smoke alarms at no cost, the alarms are installed by experts and families are trained on how to best escape their homes during a fire. Missouri residents can also register to participate in the free smoke alarm program online at

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. 


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