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Change your clocks, change your batteries
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Emergency services staff encourages residents to check smoke alarms this weekend, when turning back the clock for daylight savings time.


“Change your clocks. Change your batteries,” said Tim Satterfield, deputy chief of Dawson County Emergency Services.


“Having a working smoke alarm reduces your chances of dying in a fire by nearly half,” Satterfield said. “Batteries in smoke alarms should be replaced twice a year.”


Chief Lanier Swafford agreed.


“You change your clocks twice annually ... so we want to remind and encourage residents that Saturday night, when you change your clocks, set aside some time to make sure your smoke detector batteries are tested and working,” Swafford said.


Swafford said anyone who needs help changing batteries can call fire department headquarters from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The number is (706) 344-3666.


Emergency services also offers free smoke alarms and batteries to all county residents.


The National Fire Safety Council recommends three steps for maintaining residential smoke alarms:


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


• 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.


• 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.