For Want of a Battery...

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A smoke detector is supposed to make a certain sound when it's working properly, and Parkersburg's fire inspector says it's a sound that's saved a lot of lives.

“Not more than a week ago, some folks were alerted to a small fire. Fortunately, the smoke detector alerted them in time, and they were able to put the fire out before the fire department arrived,” says Mike Beckett.

But others have been lost, when those detectors haven't been working properly. That's why local and national fire officials are urging smoke detector owners that when they turn back their clocks this weekend, to change the batteries in their smoke detectors.

The most important part of this program is that it can save your life, and it can save the lives of your loved ones. It's a preventative measure. We can get there and we can protect your home, but we will not be there in time to save you, so it's the early warning that saves your life,” Ernest Mitchell says.

Sometimes, people find out they don't have any fresh batteries at home, and take an existing battery from another appliance. Beckett says that's not a good idea.
Mike Beckett: Putting a used battery in a smoke detector is like hooking someone up to a life supporter and not plugging it in.

Beckett says practically every room in your home should have a working smoke detector. The Parkersburg Fire Department offers free detectors for qualified Parkersburg residents. They're available from nine a.m. to five p.m. weekdays, at the main fire department office, in the Parkersburg City Building.

You can also call them at 304-424-8470, and if you need them installed, the fire department can come to your home and do it for you.