Daylight saving time: When you change your clocks, do this, too

For most of the country, daylight saving time officially begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 13, meaning longer days and brighter evening commutes are ahead.

While you’re setting your clocks forward an hour this weekend, be sure to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, too.

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According to safety experts, a good rule of thumb is to check the batteries twice a year: when daylight saving time begins and ends.

This year so far, 17 Georgians have died in residential fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

In November 2017, more than 91 Georgians died in 70 residential fires, according to state Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens’ office. The AJC reported that records showed only three of those homes had a working smoke alarm.

“Smoke alarms most often fail because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries,” according to the official website of the State Department of Health. The department urges residents to replace the batteries at least once a year.

In a survey of more than 1,000 people, ServiceMaster Restore found that only 57% of Americans have followed best practices.

Most conventional smoke detectors have a cover that either hinges or lifts off. A counterclockwise twist will get the cover off.

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Once you remove the cover, locate the battery, which should be clipped in. When you replace the battery, be sure it’s properLy oriented before closing the cover.

You can also test if you installed the battery correctly by pressing the test button. You should hear a chirp if you hit the button.

If you’re unsure about your smoke alarm placement or need assistance, call your local fire department.