Tonight is fall back time again, where we gain an hour of sleep and have to change all the clocks. It’s easy to have VCR’s and Cell phones that take care of themselves. But did you change the necessary batteries? The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is telling all consumers: it’s a good time to replace their smoke alarm and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm batteries. “Safeguard your family by putting new batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms this weekend,” said CPSC’s Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. “Properly working smoke and CO alarms can alert you to a fire or poisonous carbon monoxide in your home and give you valuable escape time.”
The estimated annual average of 378,700 fires, 2,740 deaths, 13,090 injuries and $5.6 billion in property losses associated with residential fires should be enough information to support the importance of new batteries. Looking around and seeing how many people in your house depend upon those alarms is clearly another.
CPSC recommends consumers follow these safety tips:
- Never leave cooking equipment unattended.
- Have a professional inspect home heating, cooling, and water appliances annually.
- Use caution with candles, lighters, matches, and smoking materials near upholstered furniture, mattresses, and bedding. Keep matches and lighters out of reach of young children.
- Have a fire escape plan and practice it so family members know what to do and where to meet if there’s a fire in the home. Children and the elderly may sleep through or not react to the sound of the smoke alarm, so parents and caregivers should adjust their fire escape plan to help them escape the house in the event of a fire.
- Never ignore an alarming CO alarm. It is warning you of a potentially deadly hazard. If the alarm signal sounds do not try to find the source of the CO. Immediately move outside to fresh air. Call your emergency services, fire department, or 911.
- Never use a portable generator indoors – including garages, basements, crawlspaces, and sheds. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO buildup in the home.
- During use, keep portable generators outdoors and far away from open doors, windows and vents, which can allow CO to build up indoors.
- If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away. The CO from generators can readily lead to full incapacitation and death.
- Never use charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal in an enclosed space can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide.
For more information, also visit www.FireSafety.gov, for fire safety information from CPSC and other federal agencies.