Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery

Daylight Savings Time begins at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2016.  So, before going to bed Saturday, March 12, remember to set your clocks ahead one hour.  At the Avon Volunteer Fire Department (AVFD), this is the time of year when we remind residents and businesses to change their smoke alarm and carbon monoxide (CO) detector batteries.

Change Your Batteries and …

Many fire deaths and fire injuries are actually caused by smoke and gases.  Victims inhale smoke and poisonous gases that rise ahead of the flames.  Survival depends on being warned as early as possible and having an escape plan.  It’s important to remember that new batteries are only part of what enables smoke alarms and CO detectors to save lives.

You should be able to respond “yes” to the each of the following statements:

  • There is at least one smoke detector located on every floor of my home.
  • Smoke detectors are placed near bedrooms, either on the ceiling or on the wall six to 12 inches below the ceiling.
  • Smoke detectors are tested at least monthly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and are kept in working condition at all times.
  • Batteries are replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions, at least annually.
  • Batteries are NEVER disconnected.
  • Smoke detectors have a distinct warning signal that can be heard by those both asleep and awake.

In addition, you need to know how old your smoke alarms and CO detectors are.  Most alarms installed today have a life span of eight to 10 years.  After this time, the entire unit should be replaced. Some newer alarms have an “expiration date” stamped inside them – when purchasing a new alarm, be sure to check and make note of the date.

Smoke and CO Detectors Save Lives

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), between 2006 and 2008, there was a yearly average of 386,300 residential fires resulting in nearly 2,400 deaths.  While we haven’t seen a fire related death here in Avon in recent years, the fatal Christmas Day 2011 fire in Stamford is still fresh on everyone’s minds.  Smoke detectors were not installed in the house that burned to the ground.  Had there been smoke detectors, the five people who died in the home might have managed to escape.

The CPSC wrote in a press release issued earlier this week: “Two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes where there are no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. That is why it is important to replace batteries at least once every year and to test your alarms every month to make sure they work. CPSC recommends consumers have smoke alarms on every level of their home, outside bedrooms and inside each bedroom.”

Further, the CPSC estimates an average of 183 unintentional non-fire CO poisoning deaths associated with consumer products per year between 2006 and 2008.  Since CO is colorless, odorless, and poisonous, it is called the “invisible killer.”  People cannot smell or see it – the only way to know if it’s present in a building is to have working CO alarms installed.  Furnaces, portable generators, fireplaces, cars, and charcoal grills produce CO when they don’t completely burn the fuel they are using.

Related posts:

Is Your Smoke/CO Detector Ready?

Plan Your Escape