The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do This Weekend (Besides Vote!)

updated Feb 24, 2021
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Credit: Lula Poggi

Talking about safety measures at home is way less fun than showing off your “I Voted” sticker. But they’re both pretty darn important. (Well, it’s more important to vote than it is to post that you did it on Instagram, but you get my point.) Not only should we be talking about safety measures, but we should also be taking action. (Of course, action is pretty important for democracy, too. I’m seeing some patterns!)

The action I want you to take this weekend? Change the batteries in your smoke detector. Please.

Credit: Hadrian/Shutterstock

Having the right number of alarms in the right place is key, but even the best fire alarms are no good if their batteries are dead. The National Fire Protection Agency reports that “three out of five home fire deaths happened in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms” and that “the risk of dying in reported home structure fires is 54 percent lower in homes with working smoke alarms than in homes with no alarms or none that worked.”

Experts recommend changing smoke alarm batteries twice a year. Whether or not you believe your smoke alarm batteries are in good working order, err on the side of caution and put fresh batteries in them. How to pick (and remember!) the two times a year to do this task? Do it every time we change the clocks.

This weekend is the best time to change your batteries for two reasons. One: According to the Red Cross, fires increase during the fall and winter. And two: Tying the task to the time change is the perfect reminder that you’re due to put fresh batteries in our alarms. If you don’t already have the habit, now is the ideal time to start. Heads up: Next battery refresh happens in March. 

When was the last time you changed the batteries in your smoke alarm?