Before we go to bed this Saturday night we will all be turning our clocks back one hour as daylight saving ends on Sunday morning at 2 a.m. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) wants to remind us that it is also a good time to change the batteries in our smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
Batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be changed at least once every year. In addition all smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month. An easy way to check them is to press the test button on the bottom of the smoke detector with the end of a broomstick handle. If the smoke detector makes no sound it could indicate a dead battery or bad detector. All smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years.
According to the NPFA working smoke detectors cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half. In addition roughly two thirds of all fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
The NFPA recommends these following tips about smoke detectors:
A. Install smoke detectors inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
B. Larger homes may need additional smoke detectors to provide enough protection.
C. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke detectors so when one sounds they all sound.
D. An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or combination ionization and photoelectric (also known as dual sensor alarms) are recommended.
E. Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally they should be 10 feet from a cooking appliance.
Author's Note: A great place to visit to learn about fire safety, including smoke alarms, is the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center on Museum Row in Uniondale. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum will be giving out free smoke detectors all weekend to those who need them.
Gerald Cadigan is a 40-year veteran of the fire service currently employed by the Village of Garden City serving more than 32 years with the career staff of the Garden City Fire Department. He is also a deputy chief and fire safety specialist with the Nassau County Fire Academy, Public Fire Education Division.