It may be hard to believe, but this weekend we spring forward into Daylight Saving Time. At 2 a.m. Sunday, we will set our clocks ahead one hour.
Firemen's Association of the State of New York
(FASNY) wants to remind homeowners and renters to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors at least once a year to make sure they're working properly. "For homeowners who did not change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the fall of last year, it is critical they do so in March," said FASNY President David Jacobowitz. "Smoke detectors are the first line of defense against the deadly effects of fire. Install one on every floor of your home, including the basement, and in or near sleeping areas. Make sure the detectors are installed on ceilings or high up on walls; and do not install them near windows or other ventilation sources, where drafts may prevent them from working properly."
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, approximately 2,600 Americans die in home fires every year. More than half of these deaths occur between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., when people are typically sleeping. The risk of dying from a fire in a home without working smoke alarms is twice as high as in a home with working smoke alarms.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Test smoke alarms/detectors at least once a month by using detectors' "test button."
- Clean the units by vacuuming or dusting in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
- Install new batteries in all smoke alarms/CO detectors at least once a year on the day you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
- Install a smoke alarm and CO detector near sleeping areas, as well as on every level of the home, including the basement.
- Do not paint smoke alarm/CO detectors.
- Because smoke rises, alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings.
- Smoke alarms/CO detectors should not be installed near a window, door or forced-air register where drafts could interfere with their operation.
- Notify your local fire department when your detector sounds. However, before calling, make sure to identify whether or not the device is simply sounding due to a low battery.
- Read the detector's packaging and instructions to understand the difference between a true emergency and a simple maintenance issue of a dead battery or an expired detector, as the detector may emit different sounds for each situation.
- If it is a real activation, call 911 and evacuate immediately.
- To avoid potential CO exposure, do not warm a vehicle in an enclosed garage space. During and after a snowstorm, make sure all vents connected to stoves, furnaces, and fireplaces leading outside are clear.