Stay safe this Halloween: Change your clock, change your battery


Autumn is a season full of changes, and the Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services (HCDFRS) would like to remind residents as they prepare for the Halloween holiday to also remember to “Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery.”

“All too often our firefighters and paramedics respond to fires in homes that do not have a working smoke detector,” said Fire Chief William Goddard. “In 2011, a Howard County resident also died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning; the carbon monoxide detector in his home had dead batteries. These tragedies can be reduced if everyone remembers to ‘Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery.’”

HCDFRS would like to advise citizens to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as daylight savings time ends this Sunday, November 3rd. Also, be sure to remember these important safety tips over the next week:

•Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch-lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting. Instead of a candle, use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern.

•Wear costumes that are short, snug and flame retardant. Flowing sleeves, capes and skirts or billowing or trailing fabric can cause children to trip and can catch fire if they brush against candles.

•Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these away from all open flames and heat sources.

•Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout your home so that when one sounds, they all sound.

•Encourage children to trick-or-treat before dark. After dark, an adult chaperone should carry a flashlight and choose well-lighted streets. Children should NEVER go into a stranger’s home or car.

•Replace the entire alarm if it’s more than 10 years old or doesn’t work properly when tested. Remember the new state law requires a 10-year lifespan smoke alarm, which contains a 10-year, sealed-in battery.

•When planning a party or haunted house, remember to keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.

•Dust or vacuum alarms when you change the batteries.

•Push the test button and test all alarms once a month using the test button.

•Prepare and practice two escape plans so that you and your loved ones can get out of your home safely in the event of a fire. Meet in a place a safe distance from the fire and where first responders can easily see you.