Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, October 31, so most of the country will gain an hour when we turn our clocks back. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) suggests consumers spend part of this extra time testing to ensure that their smoke detectors work properly.
Fire is the second leading cause of unintentional death in the home. Each year, more than 3,700 people die in residential fires, and there are more than 400,000 residential fires serious enough to be reported to fire departments.
About 90 percent of U.S. households have smoke detectors installed. However, a CPSC survey found that the smoke detectors in 20 percent of those households -- about 16 million -- were not working, mostly because the battery was dead or missing.
"Smoke detectors can save lives, but they won't work if they are not maintained," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "They should be tested monthly, and the batteries should be replaced at least once a year or when they make a 'chirping' sound."
Long-life smoke detectors with 10-year batteries have been available to consumers since 1995. These long-life detectors also should be tested monthly.
CPSC recommends consumers place a smoke detector that meets the requirements of Underwriters Laboratories' (UL) standard outside their bedrooms and on each level of multi- story homes. CPSC has worked to strengthen smoke detector performance and installation requirements.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to help ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals -– contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @USCPSC or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.
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