You can turn back the clock one hour tonight (Saturday) before you go to bead. Fire officials are asking that you use that extra hour of time in the day to make a quick check of your smoke detectors. Cedar Rapids Fire Department spokesman, Craig Buelow says he’s seen how important the devices can be.

“We have found that a working smoke alarm will reduce your risk of dying in a fire by nearly 50-percent. And unfortunately we’ve had 127 house fires in Cedar Rapids through October 31st, and in those house fires where we’ve checked to see if there’s a smoke alarm, only 26-percent of the time have we found that a working smoke alarm was present,” Buelow says.

He says his community is not alone. “The other fire departments tell me the same thing, that we have to continually put this with every media release that we send out, or every conversation that we have about a house fire or a commercial fire, just to underscore the importance of working smoke alarms,” Buelow says.

It is recommended that smoke alarms that are 10 years old be replaced. Buelow says you should look at new technology when replacing a smoke alarm.

“The state of Iowa now requires dual-sensor smoke alarms, so the fire departments throughout the state are advocating that people get a smoke alarm that has an ionization and photo-electric sensor in it,” Buelow says. “We are also really pushing for these smoke alarms that have a 10-year battery, or lithium power cell in them. Because again, the number one reason smoke alarms don’t work is that the batteries fail.”

Buelow says the 10-year batteries get rid of the need to replace batteries every year. “It’s especially for people who are busy and even elderly citizens so they don’t have to get up on the ladder or get some to help them replace those batteries every year,” Buelow says.

He says they also recommend that you buy a carbon monoxide detector for your home, especially now that homes will be closed up and heaters turned on.