Reminder: When you ‘fall back’ this weekend, don’t forget to change your smoke alarm batteries, too
HARRISBURG — A reminder from acting Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego: When you adjust your clocks to “Fall Back” on Saturday night, be sure to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, too.
“Having a functional smoke alarm is the simplest, most effective way to ensure you and your family’s safety in the event of a home fire,” said Trego in a press release. “All too often, these critical life-saving devices are overlooked or ignored until it’s too late. Test your smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries regularly.”
According to Trego, discharged or missing batteries are the most common cause of malfunction in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Functional smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors can decrease the risk of dying in a home fire by as much as half, Trego says. From the moment an alarm sounds, occupants may have as few as two minutes to safely exit the building.
Often called “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can incapacitate victims before they are aware they have 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 marketed as having long-lasting batteries may not need to have their batteries replaced, but thousands of homeowners still use models that use standard batteries that must be replaced regularly.
No matter what type of smoke alarms you have in your home, Trego says, they should be tested monthly – including hard-wired units connected to the home’s electrical system.
Homeowners unsure of how to maintain, or install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can call their local fire service for advice.