Daylight-saving time ends Sunday, Nov. 1 at 2 a.m. The Carmel Fire Department encourages residents to change the batteries in their own smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, test the alarms and remind friends, family, neighbors and fellow community members to do the same. With the peak time for home fire fatalities occurring between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are sleeping, this simple step can help save their lives and the lives of those around them. A working smoke detector is your first line of defense in a fire. Also, as winter and colder weather approaches, have your heating sources (chimney, fireplace, woodstove, furnace, heaters) properly inspected and serviced by a professional.
Tragically, fire can kill selectively. Those most at risk include:
• Children – On average, home fires kill 500 children ages 14 and under each year. Roughly three-quarters of child fire fatalities under age 15 occurred in homes without working smoke alarms.
• Seniors – Adults 75 and older are 2.8 times more likely to die in a home fire.
• Low-Income Households – Many low-income families are unable to afford batteries for their smoke alarms. These same households often rely on poorly installed, maintained or misused portable or area heating equipment – a main cause of fatal home fires.
The most commonly cited cause of non-working smoke alarms is worn or missing batteries. Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely.
Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, testing those alarms and reminding others to do the same are some of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. Additionally, the International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends that smoke alarms in homes should be replaced every 10 years and having both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are best to alert people to all types of home fires. If both types of smoke alarms or a combination alarm are not available, the Carmel Fire Department recommends photoelectric alarms with a 10-year lithium battery. The battery in this alarm never needs changed and the alarm needs to be replaced every ten years. Likewise, carbon monoxide detectors need to be replaced every seven to eight years. If you need assistance changing or testing your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, please contact your local fire department.
Thirty-two years ago, Energizer and the International Association of Fire Chiefs recognized a disturbing trend that many home fire fatalities were taking place in homes without working smoke alarms. Please do your part in checking, changing, and testing your smoke detectors.
Carmel Fire Department (317) 571-2600 or
Fire statistics were obtained from reports by the Fire Analysis and Research Division of the National Fire Protection Association. See for more information.