Daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, when clocks need to be moved back one hour to standard time. It is also a good opportunity to check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and make sure they are working properly.
Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms double the chance of a family surviving a home fire and/or an unsafe carbon monoxide level incident.
Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan.
Here is a checklist for checking your alarms:
• Count your smoke alarms – Be sure there is at least one smoke alarm less than 10 years old installed on every level of your home, including one in every bedroom and outside each sleeping area. Smoke alarms should not be installed near a window because drafts could interfere with their operation.
• Change smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm batteries – Fire experts nationwide encourage people to change their smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries at least once a year. An easy way to remember to do so is to change the battery when you move the clock back to standard time in the fall, or when you move them ahead for daylight savings time in the spring.
• Alarms which have a sealed, long-life battery should be good for the life of the alarm (10 years), however they should be tested at least monthly to make sure they are functioning properly.
• Test alarms at least once a month by using the test button – After inserting a fresh battery in each smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, push the safety test button to make sure the alarms are in proper-working condition. Conduct this test monthly. Never disconnect your smoke alarm battery! Remember that a “chirping” alarm is a signal it needs a fresh battery or has reached the end of its 10-year life and needs to be replaced.
• Clean smoke and carbon monoxide alarms – Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms’ sensitivity by vacuuming or blowing out any dust that might accumulate in the unit.
• Never borrow a battery from an alarm to use somewhere else.
• Never paint a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm.
• Replace smoke alarms – The United States Fire Administration recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years and having a combination of both ionization and photo electric smoke alarms to alert you to all types of home fires.
• Change flashlight batteries – Keep flashlights with fresh batteries at your bedside for help in finding the way out and signaling for help in the event of a fire.
• Get your whole family involved – Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan. Once smoke and carbon monoxide alarms have fresh batteries installed, you should make sure family members, children in particular, know what the alarms sound like and what to do should they go off - get out and stay out and then call 911 from a safe meeting place once outside!
If you need a free smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, contact your local fire department.
Sometimes saving a life can be that simple – change your clocks and check your alarms!