Reminder: When you ‘spring forward’ this weekend, change your smoke alarm batteries, too

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HARRISBURG — When you “spring forward” this weekend, don’t forget to change your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries when you change your clocks, says acting State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego.

“The batteries should be changed periodically and a good way to remember is that is to do it when you change your clocks,” said Trego in a press release. “Practicing your home fire escape plan with your family all in the same weekend is a great way to keep your loved ones safe.”

Trego said worn or missing batteries are the most common cause of a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector malfunction. 

Functional smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half, Trego says.

Often called “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide 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 fireplaces, appliances, grills and generators, and motor vehicles.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for the flu and include nausea, headaches, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue.

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 – including hard-wired units connected to the home’s electrical system.

Homeowners should consider buying new alarms to replace units that are more than ten years old.