When you change your clocks this weekend, remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms too. The CPSC urges consumers to make a habit of replacing smoke and CO alarm batteries when the time changes
The reminder from the CPSC coincides with the end of Daylight Savings Time for 2010.
Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 7 this year. Consumers are reminded to turn their clocks back one hour before going to bed or officially at 2am.
“Properly working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can save lives by alerting you to a fire or to poisonous carbon monoxide in your home,” said Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “In order to work properly, alarms need fresh batteries at least once every year.”
In addition to changing batteries every year, CPSC recommends consumers test their alarms monthly. Place smoke alarms on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas and inside each bedroom.
Fire departments responded to an estimated 385,100 residential fires nationwide that resulted in an estimated 2,470 civilian deaths, 12,600 injuries and $6.43 billion in property losses annually, on average, from 2005 through 2007, reports the CPSC.
CPSC also urges consumers to test electrical outlets in their homes that are equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters, also called GFCIs or GFIs. A GFCI is an inexpensive electrical device that can be installed in a home’s electrical system to protect against severe or fatal electric shocks. If you don’t have GFCIs, have them installed by a qualified electrician.
Test the GFCI after installation, at least once every month, after a power failure and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Read the GFCI Fact Sheet for more information about GFCIs, where to install them and how to test them.
CPSC also recommends CO alarms should be installed on each level of a home and outside all sleeping areas. These should be periodically checked, says the CPSC. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that consumers cannot see or smell. An average of 181 unintentional non-fire CO poisoning deaths occurred annually associated with consumer products, including portable generators, from 2004 through 2006.
The CPSC is sponsoring a nationwide carbon monoxide (CO) safety poster contest to help raise awareness about the dangers of CO in the home. Possible topics for posters include: recognizing CO exposure and CO exposure symptoms; the inability to see or smell CO; steps to protect against CO poisoning; and installation and testing of a CO alarm.
This contest is open to all middle school age children in grades 6, 7 and 8. Details, rules and a video can be seen here.
Don't forget to 'fall back' before going to bed, standard time returns.