NEW YORK - The Firemen's Association of the State of New York is reminding homeowners and renters to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors - at least once a year - to ensure they are working properly. On Sunday at 2 a.m. we will set our clocks ahead one hour. FASNY urges New Yorkers to use this reminder when it comes to maintaining their home detectors.
"It is critical that all homeowners change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors this weekend," said FASNY President Jim Burns. "Smoke detectors are the first line of defense against the deadly effects of fire. Install one on every floor of your home, including the basement, and in or near sleeping areas. Make sure the detectors are installed on ceilings or high up on walls; and do not install them near windows or other ventilation sources, where drafts may prevent them from working properly."
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, every year, approximately 2,600 Americans die in home fires. More than half of these deaths (52 percent) occur between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., when residents are typically sleeping. The risk of dying from a fire in a home without working smoke alarms is twice as high as in a home with working smoke alarms.
Safety tips provided by FASNY & National Fire Protection Association include testing smoke alarms/detectors at least once a month by using detectors' "test button; clean the units by vacuuming or dusting in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions; install new batteries in all smoke alarms/CO detectors -at least once a year- on the day you change your clocks in the spring and fall; install a smoke alarm and CO detector near sleeping areas, as well on every level of the home, including the basement.
In addition: do not paint smoke alarm/CO detectors; because smoke rises, alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings; smoke alarms/CO detectors should not be installed near a window, door or forced-air register where drafts could interfere with their operation.
Notify your local fire department when your detector sounds. However, before calling, make sure to identify whether or not the device is simply sounding due to a low battery.
Read the detector's packaging and instructions to understand the difference between a true emergency and a simple maintenance issue of a dead battery or an expired detector, as the detector may emit different sounds for each situation. If it is a real activation, call 911 and evacuate immediately.
To avoid potential CO exposure, do not warm a vehicle in an enclosed garage space. During and after a snowstorm, make sure all vents connected to stoves, furnaces, and fireplaces leading outside are clear.