SPRINGFIELD -- Daylight Saving Time began Sunday at 2 a.m., so if you haven't already done so, turn the clocks ahead one hour. The American Red Cross reminds everyone it's also a good time to test the batteries in the smoke alarms.
"When you turn your clocks ahead this weekend, it's a great time to also test your smoke alarms," said Lyn Hruska, Regional Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross Central and Southern Illinois Region. "Take a few minutes to replace your smoke alarm batteries and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working."
It's also a good time for everyone to take these steps to make sure their household is prepared for emergencies.
· Install smoke alarms. If someone doesn't have smoke alarms, they should install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check local building codes for additional requirements.
· Practice an escape plan. Make sure everyone in the household knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
· Get a kit. Keep disaster supplies in an easy-to-carry bag to use at home or carry in case ordered to evacuate.
· Make a plan. Have all household members plan what steps they should take if an emergency occurs.
· Be informed. Learn what emergencies can occur in the area and how officials notify residents should a disaster occur.
Home Fire Campaign: The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, launched in October 2014, is a multi-year nationwide initiative to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent.As of Jan. 31, 2017, the Red Cross and its partners have helped to save at least 159 lives and installed more than 702,000 smoke alarms in 9,100 cities and towns nationwide.
Working with more than 4,000 partners, the campaign has reached more than 806,000 people and made nearly 294,000 households safer, replacing more than 41,000 smoke alarm batteries and helping create more than 248,000 home fire escape plans.
Working with local fire departments and community partners, the American Red Cross Central and Southern Illinois Region has installed more than 7,300 free smoke alarms in the region. There have been 14 lives saved in the Central and Southern Region because of the Home Fire Campaign.
People can visit redcross.org to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire and other emergencies. Visit redcross.org/csil for a schedule of upcoming smoke alarm installation events.