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Format: 04/23/2014
Format: 04/23/2014

News

West Penn Hospital’s Burn Center Affirms Importance of “Change the Clock, Change the Batteries” As Daylight Savings Time Change Approaches on Sunday

Friday, November 1st, 2013

West Virginia Tragedy Illustrates Need to Check Home Smoke Detectors
The start of Daylight Saving Time is traditionally the time when the public is urged to change the batteries in home smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.
The deaths of five members of an Elkins, W.Va. family this week after fire swept through their homes Monday tragically illustrates the dangers of not keeping a smoke alarm in working order. Two family members were pronounced dead at the scene and three more died at West Penn Hospital’s Burn Center. Two other adults in the home remain hospitalized.
Sadly, a smoke detector in the family’s home was not equipped with batteries at the time of the fire, according to police reports. A working smoke detector might have given the family a better chance of making it out of the blaze unharmed.
 “We are deeply saddened by this family’s loss, and we want to do everything we can to help others avoid such a tragedy,” said Ariel Aballay, MD, medical director of West Penn Hospital’s Burn Center.
“No one is immune to the dangers of fire. It can happen in any home, at any time,” Dr. Aballay said. “Installing a smoke alarm, changing the batteries yearly, and checking the batteries regularly are among the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
About two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes with either no smoke alarm or smoke alarms that don’t work, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Officials in Elkins also reported that the fire blocked all of the home’s main exits.
“It’s also a very good idea for parents to draw up a fire escape plan and discuss it with their children,” Dr. Aballay said. “All rooms should have at least two exits, usually a door and a window. Kids should also know how to use those exits and how to dial 911 in an emergency.”
Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday, Nov. 3 at 1 a.m., when clocks are set back an hour.
More information on fire escape planning is available from the National Fire Protection Association at this link.
For more information on how to change a smoke detector’s batteries, see this video
 
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