State Fire Commissioner Ed Mann today reminded Pennsylvanians to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when turning their clocks forward one hour this weekend.
Mann said smoke alarms are an inexpensive way to protect families in the event of a fire, by alerting them to danger in time for them to safely escape. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Worn or missing batteries are the most common cause of a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector malfunction.
Newer models of smoke alarms have long-lasting batteries that do not need to be replaced, but thousands of homeowners still use models that use standard batteries that must be replaced regularly. No matter what type of smoke alarms are used in a home, they should be tested monthly.
Carbon monoxide is created when combustible materials burn incompletely. Often called “the silent killer,” it is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can incapacitate victims before they’re aware they’ve been exposed. Sources include wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, gas-fired appliances, grills, generators and motor vehicles.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for the flu and include nausea, headaches, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue.
Mann said this weekend is also a good time for families to review and practice their home fire escape plans.
Information about how to prevent fires and prepare for all types of emergencies is available online at www.ReadyPA.org. For more information about the fire service in Pennsylvania, visit www.osfc.state.pa.us, or call 1-800-670-3473.
(Source: Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner)