Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend (Sunday, November 4). The State Fire Marshal's Office urges you to change the batteries (or test them if they are long-life lithium batteries) in your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Smoke and CO alarms can't save lives if they don't have working batteries.
In Texas during 2011, 66 percent of all fire deaths occurred in residential structure fires. A residential structure fire occurred every 29 minutes. Last year, 111 people died in residential structure fires and another 625 people were injured.
According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), the risk of dying in a residential fire is reduced by 82 percent in homes equipped with working smoke alarms and automatic or residential fire sprinklers, when compared with homes lacking them.
For best protection, USFA and the National Fire Protection Association recommend installing both photo-electric and ionization alarms, or dual sensor smoke alarms.
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home.
- Interconnect all smoke alarms in your home; when one alarm sounds, they will all sound.
- Test smoke alarms, at least monthly, by pushing the test button.
- Replace batteries in all alarms, even hard-wired alarms, once a year (or when they chirp), unless they are long-life lithium batteries, which may work for as long as eight or 10 years.
- Replace alarms that are more than 10 years old.
- Practice your home fire escape plan and remember that many sleeping children will not awaken to the sound of traditional smoke alarms. Voice and visual alert alarms may be more effective alternatives.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that an annual average of 183 unintentional, non-fire CO poisoning deaths associated with consumer products occurred between 2006 and 2008. CO, a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas, is nicknamed the "invisible killer" because its unintentional victims don't know they are being poisoned. Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of fuel in furnaces, portable generators, fireplaces, cars, and charcoal grills and similar devices.
That is why it is important to have working CO alarms in your home: on each level and outside each sleeping area.
Please make these practices part of your bi-annual routine to help ensure your family's safety from fire and CO poisoning.