ILLINOIS (WCIA) — As daylight saving time ends Sunday, Illinois fire officials encourage everyone to test their smoke alarms when turning clocks back this weekend.

Here are some tips from American Red Cross:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Practice your two-minute home fire escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to escape a burning home before it’s too late.
  • Include at least two ways to get out of every room and select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone can meet.

According to Red Cross, working smoke alarms help keep people safe from home fires – the most frequent disaster that claims seven lives every day across the U.S. The National Fire Protection Association reported that around 60% of U.S. home fire deaths happened in homes without working smoke alarms, and dead batteries caused 26% of the smoke alarm failures.

Red Cross officials said working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death in a home fire by 50%.

Acting Illinois State Fire Marshal Dale Simpson said the time change serves as a bi-annual reminder to test smoke alarms and review family fire escape plans.

“It’s more important than ever due to the limited amount of time – 3 minutes or less – to escape a home fire that smoke alarms are working in your home,” Simpson said.

“Be Alarmed,” a fire safety education and smoke alarm installation program, is underway to protect Illinois neighbors. It informs people how to prevent home fires and provides ten-year, concealed battery smoke alarms for every room.

The program has helped over 2,000 Illinois residents and revealed that 80% of the pre-existing smoke alarms were not functional. You can click HERE to learn more about “Be Alarmed!”

The Red Cross Emergency app offers detailed home fire prevention and safety tips. Red Cross volunteers will be available for help after a home fire through their dispatch line: (877) 597-0747. Anyone wanting to help people affected by home fires can click HERE and sign up as a disaster volunteer.

“As the cold weather months arrive, I encourage everyone to test and inspect smoke alarms and CO alarms more often,” Simpson said, “It’s simple: working smoke alarms save lives!”