Daylight saving time ends this Sunday, November 3, and while many are looking forward to the extra hour of sleep that comes with “falling back,” it’s also a good time to have fire safety on your mind. As you turn your clocks back this weekend, the American Red Cross reminds you to also test your smoke alarms.

The threat of home fires — which are most often caused by cooking and heating equipment — increases with the holidays and cold weather. This weekend, please prepare your household by following the steps below:

  • Make sure smoke alarms are installed on every level of your home. Place them inside and outside bedrooms, and sleeping areas.
  • Test your smoke alarms and replace the batteries if needed. It’s also a great time to check your carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Practice your home fire escape plan. Let kids and pets hear your alarms when you test them, and practice what everyone should do if an alarm ever goes off. Include at least two ways to get out of every room in your home, and select a meeting spot at a safe distance away where everyone can meet. Practice your plan until everyone can escape in two minutes or less.

Want to take your personal preparedness to the next level? Plan ahead for winter by preparing or updating a disaster supply kit for your house. Include water, food, flashlights, batteries, blankets, important documents and account numbers, a first-aid kit, a battery powered radio, and a list of emergency contacts. Consider a winter survival kit for your car as well!

Above all, make sure you are prepared for the most common disaster across our region — home fires. Visit for more tips and information on how to access FREE smoke alarms from your local Red Cross.