As Pennsylvanians turn clocks back one hour this weekend, they are urged by State Fire Commissioner Ed Mann to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
“Smoke alarms are the cheapest and best way to ensure you are alerted to a possible fire in your home, and those extra seconds of warning can save lives,” Mann said. “Changing the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be part of your seasonal home maintenance, and doing it the weekend we change clocks is a good habit to start.”
Changing the batteries at least once a year is a simple, effective ways to prevent deaths and injuries, according to Mann.
Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half, Mann said. Worn or missing batteries are the most common cause of a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector malfunction, he said.
Often called “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can incapacitate its victims before they’re aware they’ve been exposed, Mann said.
Created when combustible materials burn incompletely, carbon monoxide sources include wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, gas-fired appliances, grills, generators and motor vehicles. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for the flu and include nausea, headaches, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue.
Mann said this weekend is also a good time for families to review and practice their home fire escape plans.
Information about how to prevent fires and prepare for all types of emergencies is available online at ReadyPA.org.
For more information about the fire service in Pennsylvania, visit osfc.state.pa.us, or call, toll-free, (800) 670-3473.