Daylight saving time begins early Sunday and the American Red Cross is reminding area residents to test their smoke alarm batteries as they turn clocks ahead an hour.

“It’s important for everyone to make sure their household is ready,” said Todd James, executive director of the North Central Ohio Chapter of the Red Cross. “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.”

The Red Cross says area residents should:

  • 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.
  • 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 disaster kit. Keep supplies in an easy-to-carry bag to use at home or to carry in case you are 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.

The Red Cross has apps which can be downloaded, including the Red Cross emergency app which combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep the user safe.

A special mobile app, Monster Guard, is designed for children and teaches them to prepare for emergencies at home through playing a game.

Users can find the apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

A Red Cross home fire campaign is a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. The campaign was launched in October 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 nationwide. The North Central Ohio Chapter of the Red Cross has installed more than 2,000 smoke alarms.

Individuals can visit to find out more about how to protect themselves and their homes from fire. They can become a Red Cross volunteer by contacting or by calling 419-422-9322.

Individuals can donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief online at, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767) or by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Donations to Red Cross Disaster Relief are used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters.