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Change your clocks, change your batteries

Mid-Missouri fire agencies are reminding residents to change more than just their clocks Sunday morning as daylight saving time comes to an end.

Gale Blomenkamp, Boone County Fire Protection District Battalion Chief, said it’s a good habit for people to change the batteries in their smoke detectors every six months.

“There’s a firefighter fatality in a home fire one every about three hours in this country,” Blomenkamp said. “80 percent of those deaths are caused by fire obviously, but they’re found to be by non-working smoke detectors either by faulty battery or no battery at all.”

Many smoke detectors are now made with a lithium battery that will last for about ten years. Blomenkamp the batteries should still be checked about once a month.

As the weather continues to cool down, many people will begin heating their homes with their furnace, space heater or even fire place.

Officials recommend that a professional inspects any home heating equipment before it’s used.

“It’s always good now while the weather is still nice out to get those chimneys cleaned out, along with your air ducts and electrical space heaters,” said Battalion Chief Stephen Potter with the Columbia Fire Department. “Or update your heater to one that shuts off on its own, so it doesn’t cause a fire.”

Local fire departments also encourage residents to check the batteries in their carbon monoxide detectors.

According to the Missouri Department of Health, between 2000 and 2011, 476 people died from carbon monoxide poisoning in the state. 41 percent of those fatalities were accidental.

“Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas and it’s known as the ‘silent killer,'” Blomenkamp said. “Without that detector people don’t know that they have a carbon monoxide problem in their home.”

Potter said it’s best to not put the detector in the same room as the gas appliance. He said it’s best to put it in a bedroom or living room where people in the home are most likely to hear it at night.

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