From the daily archives: Tuesday, November 1, 2011

As our nation moves back to Standard Time beginning this weekend, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) encourages you to mark the occasion as a time to test your home smoke alarms and replace the batteries if more than one year old.

Every day in the United States, needless home fire deaths occur. Working smoke alarms significantly increase your chance of surviving a deadly home fire. A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the only thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you’re awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert scanning the air for fire and smoke.

In addition to changing your smoke alarm batteries this weekend, the USFA recommends following these simple steps to protect your life, your loved ones, and your home:

  • Dust or vacuum smoke alarms when you change the batteries.
  • Test alarms once a month using the test button.
  • Replace the entire alarm if it’s more than 10 years old or doesn’t work properly when tested.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, and both inside and outside of sleeping areas.
  • For the best protection, equip your home with a combination of ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual sensor alarms.
  • Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout your home so that when one sounds, they all sound. Interconnected alarms are available at most stores that sell smoke alarms.
  • Make sure everyone in your home understands the warning of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.

Finally, prepare and practice an escape plan so that you and your loved ones can get out of your home safely should there be a fire. Plan to meet in a place a safe distance from the fire and where first responders can easily see you.

For more information on smoke alarms, fire escape planning, and fire prevention, visit the USFA website at


Farmers’ Last Chance to Win $2,500 for their Communities
Deadline for America’s Farmers Grow Communities Program is Nov. 30

During the season of giving, California farmers can get into the holiday spirit by signing up to win $2,500 for their favorite local nonprofit organizations through America’s Farmer’s Grow Communities℠, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. One farmer in each of California’s 13 participating counties will win. Those farmers can share their holiday cheer with food pantries, fire departments, students at local schools and others by signing up and designating an organization in their community.
4-H budgets are constantly being cut in the tough economy, but 4-H leaders continue to look for ways to give students the gift of education despite the circumstances.
“This donation not only helps our 4-H club, but it helps support what we’re teaching our kids about giving back to the community,” said Shannon Magana, Holtville 4-H club leader.
This year, the program has expanded to include a total of 1,245 counties.  The addition of 41 new counties will result in an additional $102,500 in donations.  In California, the Monsanto Fund will invest a total of $32,500 toward nonprofit organizations in rural communities.
Now through Nov. 30, 2011, farmers can apply online at, or call 1-877-267-3332 to apply by phone.  A $1 donation will be made to local United Way chapters for each farmer who signs up, to further enhance the investment in rural communities.  Farmers who meet program eligibility requirements may enter regardless of involvement with previous Grow Communities programs.   One winner will be selected at random from each of the 1,245 eligible counties, and the Monsanto Fund will announce winning farmers and recipient nonprofits in January 2012.
Eligible counties in California include Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Stanislaus, Tulare and Yolo.
Visit to sign up and to learn more about America’s Farmers Grow Communities. This program is part of a broad commitment by Monsanto Fund to invest in farm communities, in order to highlight the important contributions farmers make every day to our society.


About the Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the farm communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at
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