WASHINGTON, D.C. – Do you have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home? Are they working? Sunday, March 9, marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time in the United States. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges consumers to take the time to replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when turning clocks forward this weekend. Make it an annual habit. This habit could save your life.
Working smoke and CO alarms, which means having fresh batteries, adds an important layer of safety to your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. There are more than 362,000 home fires every year and more than 2,200 people die in them, according to CPSC’s latest Residential Fire Loss Estimates report.
Batteries in battery-powered alarms need to be replaced every year. In addition, CPSC recommends that consumers test their alarms every month to make sure they are working. Smoke alarms should be placed on every level of the home, inside each bedroom, and outside sleeping areas.
Although more than 90 percent of U.S. homes report having at least one working smoke alarm, only 42 percent report having a working CO alarm, based on 2011 U.S. Census Bureau data. CO alarms can alert you and your family to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide inside your home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 400 people die each year in the United States from CO poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is called the invisible killer, because you cannot see or smell it. This poisonous gas can come from many sources, including cars, furnaces and portable generators, and can quickly incapacitate and kill its victims.
Put CO alarms on every level of the home and outside sleeping areas. Like smoke alarms, CO alarms need fresh batteries every year. CO alarms also should be tested once a month to make sure they are working.