Iowans are being encouraged to change the batteries in their smoke detectors this weekend as they set their clocks forward one hour for Day Light Savings Time.
State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds says there were 43 fire fatalities in Iowa last year and many of those lives may’ve been saved by a working smoke detector.
Reynolds says around half of fires involved a home of building that either didn’t have a smoke detector or the device failed to work because it had a dead battery or no battery at all.
So far this year, seven Iowans have died in fires and five of those deaths occurred in a home without a working smoke detector. The early warning a smoke alarm provides could mean the difference between life and death. Reynolds says many people believe if there is a fire in their home, they’ll have several minutes to gather their valuables.
“Nothing could be farther from the truth,” Reynolds said. “In fact, in most fires you really have less than a minute or two minutes to get out of your house to stay alive.” Reynolds just recently took over as State Fire Marshal. Former Marshal Jim Kenkel retired. Reynolds says he plans to work closely with local fire departments on fire prevention efforts. He’s applauding one program in eastern Iowa.
“The fire department in Clinton is doing a partnership with their school district to replace or install smoke detectors in all the children’s homes in the school district. Those kind of fire prevention efforts go a long way,” Reynolds said.