The Tamaqua Fire Department is asking everyone to replace their smoke, fire and carbon monoxide (CO) detector batteries this Sunday as clocks are turned ahead one hour for daylight savings time. Tom Hartz, Tamaqua Fire Chief, said, "Safeguard your family and neighbors by placing alarm batteries in both your smoke and CO detectors this weekend." "A properly working smoke, fire and CO detector can alert your family or neighbors to a fire or poisonous CO in your home and give your that extra needed time to escape."
According the the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated annual average of 378,700 fires, 2,740 deaths, 13,090 injuries and $5.6 billion in property losses associated with residential fires were reported by fire departments from 2003 through 2005.
CO, an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas, causes an estimated average of over 170 unintentional non-fire CO poisonings deaths each year from 2003 to 2005.
The CPSC and all local fire departments recommend consumers replace their batteries in their smoke and CO detector annually, as well as test them monthly.
Hartz added, "Smoke alarms and CO detectors should be on every level of the home, to include outside sleeping areas and inside each bedroom." Hartz also pointed out the new availability of purchasing combination smoke and CO detectors.
A few tips provided by the CPSC website include: Never leave cooking equipment unattended; have a professional inspect home heating, cooling, and water appliances annually; use caution with candles, lighters, matches and smoke materials near upholstered furniture, mattresses and bedding; have a fire escape plan and practice is so family members know what to do and where to meet if there's a fire in the home, especially since children or the elderly may sleep through or not react to the sound of the alarm; never use a portable generator indoors; and parents should adjust their fire escape plan to help younger or older family members escape easier.
Hartz stressed, "Never ignore an alarming CO alarm. It is warning you of a potentionally deadly hazard. If the alarm signal sounds, do not try to find the source of the CO. Immediately move outside to fresh air and call 911." He ended with, "Daylight savings time is an easy yearly reminder to change your batteries, so stop what you are doing right now and go change your batteries."