Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 6, 2021, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants consumers to “fall” into the habit of changing the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms when they turn their clocks back one hour.
Many electronic devices and appliances will adjust automatically to the time change. However, many smoke and CO alarms need a few moments of your time to ensure they are working properly.
As we move into the holiday season and people spend more time at home, furnaces, fireplaces, and other fuel-burning appliances are used more, making working smoke and CO alarms all the more important.
A new CPSC report estimates there were about 346,800 residential fires in 2019. The fires resulted in about 2,490 deaths, 11,760 injuries, and $7.38 billion in property damage.
Over the past 50 years, since the enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Act in 1972, CPSC has helped keep the public safe. From 1980 to 2019, CPSC reports a 67 percent decline in residential fires per household, a 66 percent decline in fire deaths per household, and a 60 percent decline in fire injuries per household.
Carbon monoxide is called the invisible killer because you cannot see or smell it. Carbon monoxide poisoning can come from portable generators, home heating systems, and other CO-producing appliances. The majority of CO deaths occur in the colder months of the year, between November and February.
More than 400 people die every year from CO poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Use the gained hour this Daylight Saving Time to protect your family:
Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly to make sure they are working. CPSC recommends installing smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside each bedroom and outside sleeping areas. CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas.
Change the batteries: Batteries should be replaced in alarms at least once each year unless the alarms have sealed 10-year batteries.
Replace the smoke alarm if it is more than 10 years old.
Make a fire escape plan: Make sure there are two ways out from each room and a clear path to outside from each exit. Once out, stay out of the house.
Close bedroom doors: During a fire, closed bedroom doors can slow the spread and allow extra moments to get to safety.