BURLINGTON — Daylight Saving Time has begun, and the American Red Cross reminds remind everyone to test the batteries in their smoke alarms as they turn their clocks ahead an hour.

“It’s important for everyone to make sure their household is ready,” said Lloyd Ziel, chief communications and marketing officer for the American Red Cross in New Hampshire and Vermont. “A disaster like a home fire can happen anywhere, at any time. We urge people to take these steps now and know what they should do if an emergency occurs.”

Check smoke alarm batteries. Test smoke alarms once a month. Change the batteries at least once a year – if your model requires it. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms.

Install smoke alarms. If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check local building codes for additional requirements.

Practice an escape plan. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.

Get a kit. Keep disaster supplies in an easy-to-carry bag to use at home or carry in case ordered to evacuate.

Make a plan. Have all household members plan what steps they should take if an emergency occurs.

Be informed. Learn what emergencies can occur in the area and how officials notify residents should a disaster occur.

Download Red Cross apps. People can download the all-inclusive Red Cross Emergency app which combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep the user safe. And there is a special mobile app – Monster Guard – designed for kids, teaching them to prepare for emergencies at home by playing an engaging game. Users can find the apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a fire. The Red Cross has been working to reduce that number through its Home Fire Campaign, a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries. Launched in October of 2014, the Red Cross and thousands of campaign partners have helped save many lives through the effort, as well as installing 1.1 million smoke alarms in homes all across the country. Here in the New Hampshire / Vermont region, Red Cross volunteers and our partners have installed over 1,500 smoke alarms since July alone.

Visit redcross.org/homefires to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire. They can become a Red Cross volunteer by going to redcross.org/volunteer.