As Daylight Savings Time comes to an end Sunday, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York is reminding New Yorkers to check their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure their homes are properly prepared for an emergency.
Alarms equipped with either removeable or sealed-in batteries both need to be tested. Removeable batteries should be replaced and sealed-in batteries should be checked to confirm they are functioning.
Data from the National Fire Protection Association states that three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms and the vast majority of smoke alarm failures are due to dead or missing batteries. FASNY recommends cleaning all alarms to remove any debris that might impede their function and to test the batteries, changing them as necessary. Taking precautionary measures, as well as creating and practicing a home escape plan, are some of the steps New Yorkers can take to protect their homes and families.
“The end of Daylight Savings Time is the perfect opportunity to check your smoke alarm batteries,” said Ken Pienkowski, FASNY president. “We encourage all New Yorkers to use this as a reminder to update your fire safety measures in the home, especially as the cold months approach and heaters start to turn on. Making sure you have taken the right precautionary measures can save lives. FASNY also encourages New Yorkers to install 10-year smoke alarms, which cannot be easily disabled. “
At the end of 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that will require all smoke alarms sold in New York state to be equipped with sealed-in, non-removable batteries that last for at least 10 years. The new law will take effect in 2019.
Tips for proper smoke and carbon monoxide alarm use include:
¯ Test alarms at least once a month by using the test button.
¯ Those who have an alarm with a removable battery should be sure to check the batteries every six months and change the batteries every year. If a battery is starting to lose its power, the unit will usually chirp to warn you. Do not disable the unit.
¯ Vacuum or blow out any dust that might have accumulated in the unit.
¯ Never borrow a battery from an alarm to use somewhere else.
¯ Never paint a smoke or CO alarm.
¯ Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of a home, including the basement, and in, or near each sleeping area.
¯ Smoke alarms should not be installed near a window because drafts could interfere with their operation.
¯ Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan.
¯ Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for testing smoke alarms and replacing the batteries.
For more information on smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and other information on fire safety and prevention, visit www.fasny.com and www.nfpa.org.