When it’s time to move our clocks back, it’s a great time to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. In addition to giving each detector new batteries, check to be sure all alarms are working properly.
Your safety depends on it!
Working alarms double the chance of surviving a home fire and/or an unsafe carbon monoxide level. Unfortunately, more than 70% of smoke alarms that failed to operate had missing, disconnected or dead batteries, according to a report by our organization, E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety.
Use this checklist to protect your family and home:
- Count your smoke alarms
Be sure there is at least one smoke alarm installed on every level of your home, including one in every bedroom and outside each sleeping area. All alarms should be less than 10 years old.
- Change the 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 this is to change them when you move clocks back in the fall.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
After you install fresh batteries, push the safety test button to make sure the alarms are working. Repeat monthly. Never disconnect your smoke alarm battery! A “chirping” alarm means it needs a fresh battery or has reached the end of its 10-year life and needs to be replaced.
- Dust off alarms
Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can work well by cleaning them of dust or cobwebs monthly.
- Replace your alarms
The United States Fire Administration recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years and having a combination of both ionization and photo-electric versions to alert you to all types of home fires. Mark the 10-year “replace by” date on all your alarms.
- Change flashlight batteries
Keep flashlights with fresh batteries at your bedside in case your alarm sounds and you need to get out quickly.
Then, once the alarms have fresh batteries, get the family involved. You should make sure family members, and children in particular, know what the alarms sound like and what to do should they go off. If the alarm sounds — “Get Out and Stay Out” — and then call 911 from a safe meeting place outside!
If you or someone you know needs a free smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, contact your local fire department, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 1-844-978-4400.