Change your clocks, change your smoke-detector batteries
SUMMIT COUNTY – Officials at Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue want to remind residents that when they change their clocks this weekend to Mountain Standard Time (hint: spring ahead, fall back), it’s the perfect time to change the batteries in home smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors, as well.
Even “hard-wired” smoke detectors that are plugged in to the home’s electrical supply typically have a 9-volt backup battery to keep the detectors operating in case of a power outage. Often they will “chirp” when the batteries are dying – that means to change the batteries, don’t disconnect or disable the devices!
While changing the batteries in your smoke detectors, make sure to test the audible siren by pushing the button; check that the vents are clean and not clogged with dust; and check the manufacture date. Typically, detectors should be replaced every 10 years.
At least one smoke alarm should be placed on every level of the home. The most important location is near the bedrooms to provide an early warning to all sleeping occupants. A smoke alarm should also be placed inside every bedroom. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly install a smoke alarm.
Smoke detectors, plain and simply, save lives. Every year in the United States, about 3,000 people lose their lives in residential fires, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most fire victims die from inhalation of smoke and toxic gases, not as a result of burns. Most deaths and injuries occur in fires that happen at night while the victims are asleep. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms in the home are considered one of the best and least expensive means of providing an early warning of a potentially deadly fire.
According to the Ontario (Canada) Fire Marshal’s Public Safety Council, statistics show that 17 people die for every 1,000 home fires when there are no smoke detectors, compared with 12 fatalities for every 1,000 home fires when smoke detectors are present and activated. In 85 percent of the cases in which the smoke alarm did not activate, it was due to a dead or missing battery or power source.
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