On Sunday, March 8, most of us will “spring forward” one hour, which means we can make better use of the daylight, and according to some studies, save electricity due to natural light for an extra hour each evening. Another important item to remember at this time each year — and again when we turn our clocks back — is to change the batteries in your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors.
Roughly three out of five fire deaths happen in homes with no or non-working smoke detectors, which is twice the death rate as a home with working and properly placed smoke detectors. Your first line of defense is to make sure you have an adequate number of smoke detectors: one inside each sleeping room, one outside each sleeping area and on every level. Smoke alarms should be connected so when one detects smoke, they all sound. Second, you should check your smoke detectors monthly – it only takes a few seconds to press the “test” button on each device. Third, change the batteries at least twice each year or purchase detectors that last ten years. Fourth, replace smoke alarms every ten years. Use a permanent marker to indicate the date you installed the alarm and set a reminder on your smart phone.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning is often called the invisible killer as it is odorless and colorless. 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning, and 430 people in the U.S. die each year due to the poison. Many smoke detectors on the market double as a carbon monoxide detector, but if your smoke detector does not, you should invest in enough to cover each sleeping room and each level of your home.
For more information on smoke alarm and carbon monoxide safety, click on the links below from the National Fire Protection Association. You can also download the FEMA mobile app to set up alert reminders and learn more about disaster resources and preparation.