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Save the firefighters work

Nov 7, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

They would rather not have to fight a fire at your house, so change your detector batteries

News flash: The fire department does not want to come to your house.

The firefighters are willing to do it, ready to do it, and trained to do it.

But they'd rather not.

So change the batteries in your smoke detector.

Daylight saving time lasts longer than it used to, which means that one of the things that has become an accompaniment to it gets put off longer as well.

A very effective public-service campaign was launched years ago by linking the end of daylight saving time with changing the batteries on home smoke detectors.

Whoever thought of it was both wise and clever. Changing a smoke detector battery is something we all agree ought to be done from time to time, but when?

Well, how about when we turn the clocks back? Most Americans embraced that idea.

Now that the span of time allotted to daylight saving time is almost a month longer than in times past, those batteries might get an extra long workout if you use the annual "fall back" date as your battery-change occasion.

Many kinds of household fires are more likely in the winter, when furnaces and portable space heaters are in wider and more continuous use. Extension cords being used for holiday season decorations add to the risk, as do fireplaces and wood stoves being put back into service. Decorative candles are being brought out for the season, and the arrival of Christmas trees in our homes is only about a month away for most of us.

So, if you didn't change out the batteries in the smoke detector last weekend when standard time resumed, do it today, or tomorrow, or this weekend at the latest.

Don't bother pushing the battery test button to see if the battery still works. Presume that it doesn't, or that it won't for much longer. The smoke detector battery definitely is something to replace before it goes dead, not after.

Just this week our news pages contained a headline and accompanying report about two household fires that caused widespread damage to a couple of family homes. It is not certain that a good smoke detector would have prevented or reduced either fire, but it is certain that well-functioning smoke detectors make it far less likely that devastation from a fire will be visited upon your apartment, your mobile home, or your house.

Spend $10 on batteries, get the chair or the stepladder, pop the lid on the smoke detector, take the old batteries out, and put the new ones in. It's one of the easiest good deeds you'll ever do -- and you might save the fire department some work.

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MAIL SUBSCRIBERS: Wednesday's edition of The Ranger was delivered to the Riverton post office at 3:10 p.m., in time to meet the postal deadline for next-day mail delivery.

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