Big Bear City, CA, March 6, 2012, noon - On Sunday, March 11, 2012, at 2:00am you need to once again set your clocks ahead one hour, and it’s also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms provide an early warning for you and your family to get out and stay out. Every home needs at least one smoke alarm on each level of the home and close to sleeping areas. A smoke alarm is the first indication that there is a problem and everyone needs to know what the alarm sounds like. In a fire, smoke and deadly gases usually spread farther and faster than heat, which is why a smoke alarm is critical for your family’s safety. There are two main types of smoke alarms to choose from, ionization for flaming fires and photoelectric for smoldering fires. For the best protection, you should have both types in your home. Some smoke alarms have a 10-year lithium battery and there is NO need to change the batteries every year. After 10 years you replace the smoke alarm with a new one. The recommended time frame to replace all smoke alarms is every ten years. In addition to having smoke alarms, make sure you prepare and practice a home escape plan. Have an outside meeting place so everyone knows to go outside and stay out. A working smoke alarm can decrease a family’s risk of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent. Other safety issues are to check your home heating and cooling systems, keep an eye on items cooking, check electrical cords and lighting, and keep heat sources away from upholstered furniture, mattresses and bedding. Do a little fire safety spring cleaning and make sure your home is safe all year long.