SYLACAUGA, Ala. – As Daylight saving Time ends early Sunday morning at 2:00, you will be forced to speed up time and set your clocks forward one hour, but the clocks in your home are not the only items you should check. Alabama State Fire Marshal Scott Pilgreen is encouraging Alabamians to change the batteries in all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors while changing the clocks.
As fall turns into winter, house fires and other health concerns revolving around carbon monoxide and smoke alarms will increase. Having your devices working properly could be the difference between life and death.”It only takes five minutes to potentially save a life,” Pilgreen said. “Working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are critical to keeping Alabamians safe.”
When discussing smoke alarms, it is paramount that you keep your device up-to-date. Pilgreen said smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years or sooner, and should also go under monthly testing to ensure the device is working properly. The alarm’s manufacturing date is usually found on the back or side of the unit. If you are not sure how old a smoke alarm is, replace it.
Alarms should be placed on each level of a home, and inside every bedroom, located on a ceiling or high on a wall. Smoke in one area of the home may not reach another part of the home, which is why having multiple alarms is important.
If possible, get interconnected smoke alarms. That way, if one sounds, all alarms sound. Strobe light alarms are available for those with hearing impairment. In addition to changing the batteries when the time changes, test smoke alarms once a month by pressing the “test” button on the device.
Recently, the Sylacauga Fire Department visited several elementary schools and many day cares across the city to encourage safety and education when dealing with fire and smoke alarms in the home. The goal was to reach children at an early age, and also let children familiarize themselves with firemen just in-case they ever needed to come in contact with a member of the department in uniform.
Sylacauga’s Interim Fire Chief, Adam Gardner, gave several tips for parents emphasizing the importance of installing and maintaining smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in the home. He tells parents to replace batteries in all your smoke alarms this weekend when you change the time on your clocks. He said a smoke detector is your first defense against fires, especially at night while you’re sleeping.
“It all starts with educating your children as youngsters about the dangers of fire and ways to survive a fire. You want to teach fire safety to a point that they will always remember. This usually starts with pre-k kids up to the third or fourth grade,” stated Gardner. “Their chance of survival increases dramatically by being educated on the dangers of fire and ways to survive. This also applies to adults.”
Carbon monoxide is often an afterthought, but it should be in the front of homeowner’s minds. Known as an invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be fatal. It is a byproduct of burning fuel from cars, stoves, engines, generators and grills but becomes deadly when it builds up indoors with no place to go.
More than 400 Americans die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning and more than 4,000 are hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, vomiting, confusion and chest pain. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on each level of the home, in all the major living quarters and outside sleeping areas.
Like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors should be tested monthly and replaced if they don’t respond properly. The life expectancy of models varies by brand, so check the instructions on your unit to determine when it’s time to replace it.
If a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector sounds, leave the residence quickly and call 911 or your local fire department.
Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.