Release date: October 31, 2013
Release number: 14-011

Release Details

Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 3  

smoke alarm and battery

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – There is no doubt that smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms can save lives.  But to do their job of alerting consumers to fire or CO, alarms need fresh batteries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that consumers put new batteries in their alarms this weekend when turning the clocks back one hour at the end of Daylight Saving Time.

Home fires take a heavy toll in lost lives, lasting injuries and property damage.  CPSC estimates an average of 362,300 unintentional residential fires attended by the fire service, resulting in 2,260 deaths, 12,820 injuries and nearly $7 billion in property damage each year between 2009 and 2011.   

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three out of five fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Working smoke alarms with fresh batteries can make a real difference in lives saved and injuries prevented.  However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey for 2011, only three out of four homes reported they changed the batteries in their smoke alarms in the last six months. Batteries should be replaced in alarms every year. In addition, CPSC recommends that consumers test their alarms every month to make sure that the alarms are working.  Smoke alarms should be placed on every level of the home, inside each bedroom, and outside sleeping areas. 

CO alarms are just as important as smoke alarms. If you do not have CO alarms, get them.  Each year from 2007 to 2009, there were nearly 170 carbon monoxide deaths involving consumer products under CPSC’s jurisdiction, including portable generators and home heating systems.

Carbon monoxide is called the invisible killer, because you cannot see or smell it. This poisonous gas can come from a variety of sources and quickly incapacitate and kill its victims. 

CO alarms should be installed on every level of the home and outside sleeping areas.  Like smoke alarms, CO alarms need fresh batteries every year. They should be tested once a month to make sure they are working.  

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