MERRIMAC — Chief Larry Fisher and the Merrimac Fire Department encourage residents to test their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when setting their clocks back for daylight saving time.
Daylight saving time ends on Sunday, Nov. 1, at 2 a.m., and clocks will move back one hour at that time.
“Checking your batteries throughout the year for your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, including during the transition to and from daylight saving time, is an important, quick way to help protect yourself, your family and your home,” Chief Fisher said. “Please make sure to place them on every level of your home, outside of bedrooms and to make sure everyone knows what the alarms sound like.”
The National Fire Protection Association reports that three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (38%) or no working smoke alarms (21%). Additionally, dead batteries caused one-quarter (24%) of the smoke alarm failures.
In order to keep your family and home safe, Merrimac Fire recommends that residents follow safety tips outlined by Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:
- Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in a central location or near the stairway to the upper level. Install smoke alarms at least 10 feet from cooking appliances to reduce the chance of false alarms.
- On levels with sleeping areas, carbon monoxide alarms should be installed within 10 feet of bedroom doors. Standard smoke alarms do not detect carbon monoxide.
- CO is known as the invisible killer. It is colorless and odorless, and may affect adults, children and pets differently.
- For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms so that when one smoke alarm sounds they all sound. CO alarms can also be interconnected.
- Test smoke and CO alarms at least once per month using the test button.
- Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. When the alarm chirps a warning to indicate that the battery is low, please replace the entire smoke alarm immediately.
- Smoke and CO alarms with replaceable batteries need a new battery at least once per year. Replace batteries during daylight saving time or if the alarm chirps warning that the battery is low.
- When replacing a battery, follow the manufacturer’s list of usable batteries on the back of the alarm. Manufacturer instructions are specific to the batteries that must be used and the alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.
- If you have a plug-in CO alarm, be aware that the battery will run down during an extended power outage and may need to be replaced. Newer CO alarms have a 10-year sealed battery that does not need changing. At 10 years, the entire device is replaced.
- When purchasing a carbon monoxide alarm, be sure to look for the approval label of an independent testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL), International Approval Service (IAS), or Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Most carbon monoxide alarms that are sold in the Commonwealth meet these standards, but it’s a good idea to check before buying.
- Smoke alarms must be replaced every 10 years. Alarms are labeled with their date of manufacture. If there is no label, they are older than 10 years and must be replaced. Replace carbon monoxide alarms every 5 to 7 years, depending on the make and model.
- Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of a smoke and CO alarm and knows how to respond.
The Merrimac Fire Department would also like to remind residents that carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are not interchangeable and should never be disconnected. The best practice for checking your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms is to do so monthly.
For more information on smoke alarm and CO alarm safety, visit the DFS website.