State Fire Marshal Larry L. Flowers is reminding Ohioans to make a potentially lifesaving change when they move their clocks forward one hour on Sunday, March 13: Change the batteries in your smoke alarms!

In conjunction with Ohio’s fire departments and the Safe & Sound campaign, the Division of State Fire Marshal encourages Ohioans to make a habit of changing the batteries in their smoke detectors at least twice a year – at the beginning and end of daylight savings time.

The Safe & Sound campaign aims to reduce fire deaths in Ohio, and working smoke alarms play a major role in this initiative.

“Smoke alarms are the first warning sign of a fire. These devices give you potentially lifesaving seconds to escape,” Marshal Flowers said. “However, the alarms have to be working in order to warn you. That’s why testing them is an important first step in preparing for a fire.”

For the greatest protection, install a smoke detector on every level of your home and inside and outside of each sleeping area. In addition, Ohioans are encouraged to develop an escape plan with two ways out and make sure every family member knows what to do and where to meet outside if the fire alarm sounds. Take time to practice both a primary and secondary escape plan, so that if a real emergency occurred, you and your family know what to do.

Marshal Flowers offers these additional tips:

Test smoke alarms at least once each month to ensure that they are working properly.

Vacuum the dust from inside the detector at least once every year.

Never “borrow” a smoke detector’s battery for another use.

Change batteries twice a year or if a detector “chirps” to signal low battery power.

If you have a smoke alarm that was installed before March 13, 2006, replace the entire unit this weekend.

For more information about smoke alarms and fire safety, visit

Staff report