Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries

As Daylight Saving Time ends on November 5, and we set our clocks back, it’s not just a matter of gaining an extra hour of sleep. The American Red Cross of Western Colorado is emphasizing the importance of testing smoke alarms, while the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) highlights the need to check and change batteries in Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors.

The Red Cross underlines the critical role of smoke alarms in home safety. Christie Caster, the executive director at the Red Cross in Western Colorado, reminds us that functioning smoke alarms can significantly reduce fatalities in home fires. This year, the organization has responded to numerous home fires, assisting hundreds of individuals. This serves as a poignant reminder of the continuous threat of home fires.

In tandem, the NFPA focuses on Carbon Monoxide detectors, a vital aspect of home safety often overlooked. The “Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries” campaign, encourages the public to change the batteries in their CO detectors when adjusting their clocks. This practice is particularly important because CO is an odorless, colorless gas, and without proper detection, it can be deadly.

The NFPA notes that today’s CO detectors are not all designed the same, so the battery replacement advice is more nuanced:

  1. CO Detectors with 10-Year Batteries: These should last up to 10 years without needing a battery change. If they start chirping, indicating a low battery, the entire unit should be replaced.
  2. CO Detectors with Replaceable Batteries: These require a new battery at least once a year. If the unit chirps to indicate a low battery, replace it right away.
  3. Adhere to Manufacturer’s Guidelines: When replacing batteries, use the specific type recommended by the manufacturer to ensure proper functioning.

While you’re adjusting your clocks this weekend, take a moment to test your smoke alarms and check your CO detectors. Replace batteries if necessary and ensure you have working alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside of sleeping areas. If your alarms are over 10 years old, they should be replaced.

The Red Cross also advises having a fire escape plan that everyone in the household can execute in less than two minutes. If you’re unable to afford smoke alarms or CO detectors or need assistance with installation, the Red Cross may be able to help.

As we transition into the winter months, let’s not forget these crucial safety checks. Testing your smoke alarms and ensuring your CO detectors have working batteries could be lifesaving actions. It’s a simple yet vital step that echoes the dedication and mission of organizations like the American Red Cross and the NFPA.