Sunday, Nov. 1 is the day to move your clocks back one hour to standard time. It’s also a great opportunity to check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and make sure they are working properly.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that 71% of smoke alarms that failed to operate had missing, disconnected or dead batteries, making it important to take this time each year to check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms double the chance of a family surviving a home fire or an unsafe carbon monoxide level incident.
E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety encourages you to use this checklist to find out if you are taking the right steps to protect your family:
- 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.
- Change your 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 on Nov. 1. Alarms that 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.
- Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms – 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 your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms – Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms’ sensitivity by wiping them each month free of dust and cobwebs.
- Replace your smoke alarms – The United States Fire Administration recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years and having a combination of both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms to alert you to all types of home fires.
- Change your 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 the entire family involved – 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. Many offer free smoke alarms to local residents.