Daylight saving time: ‘Turn and test’ to stay safe from home fires

Published 6:48 pm Saturday, March 13, 2021

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As people turn their clocks forward for daylight saving time this Sunday, the American Red Cross encourages everyone to also test their smoke alarms.

Since January 1, Red Cross volunteers have helped over 1,840 people with urgent needs like emergency lodging, financial assistance and recovery planning, following over 500 home fires in North Carolina.

“Home fire remain the nation’s most frequent disaster during COVID-19,” said Barry Porter, regional CEO American Red Cross Eastern North Carolina “This weekend, take a moment to test your smoke alarms to help protect your family against home fires.”

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Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Below are steps to take when testing your alarms:

– Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year if your model requires it.

– Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older; the sensor becomes less sensitive over time. Check the date on smoke alarms in the home and follow the instructions.

– Practice a two-minute escape plan. Make sure everyone in the household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time a person may have to escape a burning home before it’s too late. Include at least two ways to get out of every room and select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from the home, such as a neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in the front yard, where everyone can meet.

Visit for more information, including an escape plan to practice with family members. There is also a free Red Cross emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).

Since launching in 2014, the Red Cross’s national Home Fire Campaign has helped save at least 836 lives, including 29 lives in North Carolina and reach more than 2.3 million people nationwide, according to the Red Cross. Visit to learn more.