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Change your clocks, batteries
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Dawson County Emergency Services urges residents to change the batteries in their smoke alarm when they change their clocks as daylight savings time ends Sunday.

"Having a working smoke alarm reduces your chances of dying in a fire by nearly half," Dawson County Emergency Services Deputy Chief Tim Satterfield said. "Batteries in smoke alarms should be replaced twice a year. Change your clocks, change your batteries."

The National Fire Safety Council recommends three steps to maintaining smoke alarms in your home.

1. Replace batteries in each smoke alarm at least twice a year or when the alarm "chirps," telling you the battery power is low.

2. Test your smoke alarm monthly. If you can't reach the test button easily, consider using a broom handle. Never use a chair; always use a ladder. Consult the owner's manual for your alarm to see if the button actually tests the unit's ability to sense smoke. Some test buttons just check the alarm's circuitry, not its sensitivity to smoke.

3. Clean your alarm. Smoke alarms have small screens around the sensing chamber that keep small bugs and dust particles out. Dust that settles on the screen can cause slow air movement. To clean, just vacuum around the outside of the alarm at least once a year. Never remove the cover.

Dawson County Emergency Services offers free smoke alarms and batteries to all county residents.

To schedule an appointment for installation of smoke alarms in your home or to have an alarm tested, call (706) 344-3666.

Dawson County Emergency Services is committed to the preservation of the lives and property of the residents of Dawson County.