As most Americans move their clocks forward one hour, Life Safety Park wants homeowners to “change your clocks and change your batteries” on Sunday, March 14.
“Fresh batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors can help provide the extra seconds needed to save a life,” Coppell Fire Chief Kevin Richardson states.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 71% of smoke alarms which failed to operate during a fire had missing, disconnected, or dead batteries. Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, testing those alarms monthly, and reminding others to do the same are some of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce tragic deaths and injuries.
Statistics also say that a fatal home fire occurs every three hours somewhere in the United States.
“The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 pm and 7 am when most families are asleep. It is vital to have these warning devices in working order to wake the family if there is imminent danger. Smoke alarm maintenance is key to keeping a family safe,” says Chief Richardson. The time change is a good opportunity to test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors by following the manufacturers’ instructions for testing. Smoke alarms can be cleaned by vacuuming them monthly or utilizing compressed air following the manufacturers’ instructions. Smoke alarms should be replaced after ten years of service.
Many manufacturers now offer smoke alarms powered by a 10-year sealed-in, non-replaceable lithium ion battery. While these batteries do not need to be replaced yearly, the alarms still need to be tested monthly to ensure the units are in proper working condition.
Homes should also have carbon monoxide detectors and the batteries should be changed during the same time. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas. Low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning cause symptoms similar to those of the flu or a cold. Higher levels of poisoning lead to dizziness, mental confusion and severe headache, among other issues.
Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to sound an alert before the exposure to carbon monoxide would present a hazard to a healthy adult. Experts recommend that every home should have at least one working carbon monoxide detector and one for every level of the home.
In addition, Chief Richardson recommends residents not only test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors but to also plan and practice home exit plans. Every member of each household should know the agreed upon meeting spot once the exit plan is executed and encourage fellow neighbors and community members to do the same in their own homes. Families should also prepare a fire safety kit that includes working flashlights, fresh batteries and other safety essentials.