DEAR ABBY: Approximately every three hours, a home fire death occurs somewhere in the U.S. These fatalities occur because there wasn't a functioning smoke detector in the house.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 96 percent of American homes have at least one smoke alarm. However, an estimated 19 percent of them do not work, primarily because of missing or dead batteries.
Please join me this year in urging your readers when they set their clocks back to standard time this Sunday to use the extra hour they gain to change and test the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. It only takes a moment, and they offer the best defense a family has against the devastating effects of a home fire.
No one should be hurt or potentially lose a life for want of a working smoke alarm, yet death strikes nearly 3,000 people every year in home fires. A working smoke alarm will provide individuals and families precious extra seconds to get out safely.
Thank you for printing this, Abby. Together, we can make a difference and, hopefully, save a life. -- JACK PAROW, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE CHIEFS
DEAR MR. PAROW: I hope my readers will take to heart your suggestion. This is a ritual I perform when I set my clocks back every year. And readers, please be aware that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years and there should be a mix of both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms in your home so that you and your loved ones will be alerted to all types of home fires. This was news to me, and I hope you will mention it to your friends and loved ones!