The reminder to check the batteries on all of the smoke detectors in the house usually comes when we reset our clocks at the beginning and end of daylight saving time.

It's probably wise to add "right now" to that list, just to make sure.

Last week, the Indiana fire marshal issued a sobering report. Deaths due to fires in the state are at 54 so far this year. That's more than the death toll - 46 - from fires for all of 2012.

The scariest part is that there seems to be no apparent rhyme or reason, other than a mix of carelessness and faulty wiring.

Swift action counts when fires strike. A smoke detector can up the odds of alerting your family when a fire starts. Test those batteries today to make sure the detectors are in working order.

Have a fire escape plan for the house and make sure everyone knows what to do and where to meet if they need to make a quick escape.

Being prepared for structure fires is serious business. The numbers this year bear that out.

For more tips, visit the American Red Cross at