Turn Back the Clock, Make the Safety Switch

As Daylight Saving Time approaches on Nov. 4, Baton Rouge General’s Regional Burn Center urges local residents to change their home’s smoke detector batteries when they turn back the clock for the time change. BRG is calling it the Safety Switch.

“This isn’t just a feel-good idea -- it could save your life,” said Dr. Jeffrey Littleton, a burn surgeon at BRG. “We see far too many people hurt in fires that could have been prevented. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire nearly in half.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments respond to a home fire every 86 seconds. Last winter, the Baton Rouge area experienced multiple cold snaps, resulting in 10 deaths from home fires in the first two weeks of 2018 – more than the entire year of 2017.

“Whether the fire’s caused by heating equipment, cooking, or smoking, smoke alarms serve as a front-line tool in giving homeowners an early warning and time to escape,” said Littleton.

Looking at cases of home fire, NFPA estimates that 71 percent of smoke alarms failed to operate because they had missing, disconnected, or dead batteries. “Smart” smoke detectors have emerged over the past few years. While adding convenience like a low-battery alert sent to your smartphone, they still need their batteries changed annually.

BRG has the only verified burn center between Florida and Texas, and is one of only 68 in the U.S. that is held to specific standards by the American Burn Association through its verified status. Just like trauma patients should get the high level of care that level 1 trauma centers give, it’s important that burn patients get the treatment only a verified burn center can offer. BRG treats 90 percent of all burns in the region each year.