Public Safety

Time for Safety Checks That Could Save You

Test your smoke detector and switch out the batteries once a year.
Test your smoke detector and switch out the batteries once a year.

Remember to set your clocks back an hour as Daylight Saving Time comes to an end Saturday night – and while you’re at it, consider doing a fast and easy review of your safety plan.

First, test all your home’s smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working.

Greg Schreiner, fire marshal for County Fire, said the extra steps can take as little as 10 minutes and it’s important because you’re staking your lives on those devices if a fire breaks out in the middle of the night.

To test a device, people typically have to press a button to hear the alarm activate. If it beeps, the battery is still good. Safety experts suggest checking the battery in your smoke detector on a monthly basis and replacing the battery annually.

Newer smoke detector models may come equipped with a special battery that has a 10 year service life that is not replaceable. In this case, continue to test the battery monthly and replace the entire unit after 10 years. Generally, all smoke detectors should be replaced after 10 years to ensure that continued protection is in place. This simple step can save your life or your loved ones.

More than half of fatal home fires occur from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half by having a working smoke detector installed, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

You can also use the time change as a reminder to check your emergency supplies kit and replace your stored water so it won’t go stale. Also check the batteries in your kit and food and medication items to make sure those items have not expired. Emergency officials recommend that people rotate water and food out of their emergency supplies kits every six months.

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact