That time of year: Change clocks, check smoke alarms

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Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday, with area residents being reminded to set their clocks ahead by one hour at 2am. An average of three children per day die in home fires and 80 percent of those occur in homes without working smoke alarms.

The La Crosse Fire Department says the bi-annual time change is also a good chance to review your family's fire escape plan. Traditional smoke alarms are either powered by battery (a disposable 9-volt battery or non-replaceable 10-year lithium "long-life" battery) or they are hardwired into the home's electrical system.

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing smoke alarms and replacing the batteries.

Persons who can't afford smoke alarms should call local fire departments, as many fire departments have a smoke alarm assistance program.

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A heavy emphasis on the "Spring into Safety" campaign includes smoke and carbon monoxide detector education. "In order for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to do their job, they need to have working batteries". "Alarms that are more than 10 years old should be replaced". Date each unit when they are installed and replace them after ten years - or sooner if they do not successfully pass the test by sounding the alarm when the test button is pressed.

If you can't afford to replace all your detectors at one time the red cross will replace them for free. Never borrow a battery from a smoke alarm to use somewhere else.

"Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths".

-Have an emergency exit plan in case of a fire.