Dear Ann: Now more than ever, the fire service's attention is focused on how to protect the American public from fire and other disasters. Though we have tragically learned that there are some things beyond our control, when it comes to home fires, there are things families can do to help fire departments protect them -- like changing the batteries in their smoke alarms when they change their clocks each October.
Nearly three children under the age of 15 die every day in house fires 80 percent of these deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms double a family's chance of surviving a home fire but only if they work.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Energizer are urging families to change the batteries in their smoke alarms when they change their clocks back to standard time. This year, "Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery" takes place on Sunday.
For 14 years, the IAFC and Energizer have supported "Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery" to spread the word about the importance of maintaining working smoke alarms. Ann, we would greatly appreciate it if you would please remind your readers again of this important lifesaving habit. Thank you. Chief John Buckman, IAFC President
Dear Chief Buckman: Here's your letter. I hope a few million readers will pay attention to what you have written. Their lives could depend on it. Please, folks, before you go to sleep tonight, put new batteries in all your smoke alarms. Then change your clocks back one hour and enjoy that extra time to sleep.
Dear Ann: This is for "Exasperated in Washington, D.C.," whose dinner guests insisted on helping her in the kitchen. One guest put her fine china and crystal glassware in the dishwasher, and some pieces ended up chipped and broken. My sister has a sign in her kitchen that you may have printed before. Maybe it's time to run it again. Another Victim of Well-Intentioned Helpers in Washington, D.C.
Dear D.C.: You are right. I have printed it before, but it's worth repeating. Thanks for asking.
Dear Well-Meaning Friends:
Please stay out of my kitchen
From my dishwashing, cooking and such.
You are kind to have offered to help me,
And I do want to thank you so much.
I hope you won't think me ungracious
When I ask that you leave me alone,
For my kitchen is not very spacious,
And my system is strictly my own.
So please stay out of my kitchen,
It may well prevent a few wars.
And when I'm invited to your house,
I promise to stay out of yours!