Daylight saving time: Changing smoke alarm batteries

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, the American Red Cross and the Rapid City Fire Department are reminding people to check and replace the batteries on their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. As Americans set their clocks back an hour on Saturday night, many take it as an opportunity to check smoke detectors.

Winter is one of the most common times of the year for house fires.

According to Lieutenant Dan Janecek with the Rapid City Fire department, daylight saving time is an important time of the year to check on potentially life saving appliances.

“The carbon monoxide detectors are important in the wintertime because our houses are closed up, our heaters are running, and we have a higher risk of carbon monoxide poisoning,” he said.

For residents who do not have smoke detectors or cannot install them, the Red Cross is offering free smoke alarms to anyone who needs one.

“There's been a number of lives saved across the nation since the Red Cross started this program,” said Richard Smith, the Red Cross executive director for Western and Central South Dakota. “We just recently installed our one millionth smoke alarm.”

Once smoke detectors have been installed, experts recommend checking them weekly. In the case of a fire, officials also say families should be prepared with an escape plan, and a meeting point.

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