As Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency is encouraging the public to change their clocks as well the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
The annual “Fall Back” safety campaign has been going on “since the beginning of smoke detectors,” said firefighter Cory Dominix.
The program is promoted by fire departments across North America.
“A lot of fire prevention programs chose the date,” he explained in an interview on Sunday morning.
“[Daylight Saving Time] reminds people to change their batteries, have a look throughout their home, update anything that needs to be updated and review their fire safety plan.”
On Sunday, firefighters from Station 13 in Dartmouth visited residential neighbourhoods, knocking on doors to ask homeowners if they’d like help checking the status of their alarms.
According to the department, in the aftermath of a serious fire investigators often discover that smoke alarms didn’t sound.
That’s usually because they were disconnected, the batteries were dead, or they were removed to be used for something else.
“The public is aware, but you still come across the odd residence that have taken the battery out due to cooking and forget to put it back in, or have forgotten to renew their smoke detectors. They do have an expiry date,” explained Dominix.
“The program is a great reminder that smoke detectors save lives, so getting out to the residences, informing them and reminding them is one way we can prevent fires.”
The National Fire Protection Association advises that smoke detectors be replaced every 10 years.
Capt. Patrick Keating said it’s easy to check if the one in your house is still working, but you may need a stepping stool or stick to assist you.
“All smoke detectors have a test button on them. You may not be able to reach it without a lift aid, so a broom handle or any extension device can reach up and push the test button,” he explained.
“You have to hold it for sometimes two or three seconds. The alarm will activate and then the alarm will reset itself if it’s in good working condition.”
Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency can provide smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors for free to anyone who can’t afford one, and those in need of assistance are asked to call the municipal service and information line at 3-1-1.