DEAR ABBY: Twenty-four years ago, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Energizer spotted a disturbing trend. Many fatalities were taking place in homes without working smoke alarms. In response, the "Change Your Clock Change Your Battery" campaign was developed to remind people to test and change their smoke alarm batteries each fall when they turn back their clocks at the end of daylight saving time.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, while 96 percent of American homes have at least one smoke alarm, 19 percent do not have at least one that works! The reason? Missing or dead batteries.
Please remind your readers that when they set their clocks back on Nov. 6, to use the extra hour they gain to change and test the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
It is recommended that smoke alarms be replaced every 10 years and be a mix of both ionization and photoelectric alarms to warn against all types of fires. They are the best defense against the devastating effects of a home fire.
Thank you, Abby, for once again joining me in spreading this lifesaving message. -- CHIEF AL GILLESPIE, IAFC PRESIDENT
DEAR AL: Just call me Old Faithful -- I'm glad to help.
Readers, this year the IAFC is encouraging families -- especially moms who understand what it means to be a family's first responder when it comes to family emergencies -- to visit www.facebook.com/energizerbunny and take the pledge to change the batteries in your smoke alarms when changing your clocks.
No one should be hurt or lose a life because of a non-working smoke alarm, yet nearly 3,000 people die each year in home fires. A working smoke alarm will provide extra precious seconds for you and your family to get out safely.