When you set your clock back this weekend, don't forget about
changing the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges
consumers to make a habit of replacing smoke and CO alarm batteries when the
time changes. Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 7 this year.
"Properly working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can save
lives by alerting you to a fire or to poisonous carbon monoxide in your home,â€
said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "In order to work properly, alarms need
fresh batteries at least once every year.â€
In addition to changing batteries every year, CPSC
recommends consumers test their alarms monthly. Place smoke alarms on every
level of the home, outside sleeping areas and inside each bedroom.
CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home and
outside sleeping areas. However, they should not be installed in attics or
basements unless they include a sleeping area. Combination smoke and CO alarms
are available to consumers.
Fire departments responded to an estimated 385,100
residential fires nationwide that resulted in an estimated 2,470 civilian
deaths, 12,600 injuries and $6.43 billion in property losses annually, on
average, from 2005 through 2007.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas
that consumers cannot see or smell. An average of 181 unintentional non-fire CO
poisoning deaths occurred annually associated with consumer products, including
portable generators, from 2004 through 2006.
CPSC is sponsoring a nationwide carbon monoxide poster
contest to increase awareness about the dangers of CO in the home. The poster
contest is open to all middle school students in grades 6, 7 and 8 through
Each of nine finalists will receive $250 in prize money. The
grand prize winner will be awarded an additional $500. More information about
the contest is available online.
CPSC also urges consumers to test electrical outlets in
their homes that are equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters, also
called GFCIs or GFIs. A GFCI is an inexpensive electrical device that can be
installed in a home's electrical system to protect against severe or fatal
electric shocks. If you don't have GFCIs, have them installed by a qualified
Test the GFCI after installation, at least once every month, after a power failure and according to the manufacturer's instructions. See our GFCI Fact Sheet for more information about GFCIs, where to install them and how to test them.