TEST THEM OFTEN — So, you changed your smoke detector batteries in November, but have you conducted monthly checks of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Experts say monthly tests can help make sure detectors are in good working order and that the batteries you have installed are up to snuff.

Protect your family from dangers of fire, carbon monoxide this winter

Published Jan 8, 2017 at 9:00am

You want your home to be a safe retreat from danger. While there are numerous ways to improve home safety, fires are a common threat that you have the power to prevent with preparation.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Energizer have teamed up each year for the past 28 years to educate the public about how to improve in-home safety.

Although the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery program reminds everyone to replace the batteries in their home’s smoke detectors when they change their clocks for daylight savings so they have functioning smoke alarms, many people put it off, thinking that they will have more time to do it later.

Winter, however, is the peak time for home fires as well as for carbon monoxide poisoning. Some studies show that the risk of fires for homeowners, particularly in the nation’s colder climates — including New York State — triples in winter, particularly in the months of January and December.

Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire nearly in half by providing an early warning. Having a fresh battery in your smoke detector plays a critical role in giving families the time needed to safely escape a home fire.

“Fire safety education and proactive prevention can minimize fire tragedies,” says Michelle Atkinson, Energizer Chief Consumer Officer. “We encourage families to discuss this important issue because we all have the power to reduce our risk.”

Here is a checklist that may help:

  • Count your smoke alarms: Increase your fire safety efforts by ensuring there’s at least one smoke alarm less than 10 years old installed on every level of your home, including one in every bedroom and outside each sleeping area. Take inventory of how many batteries are required to power these smoke alarms so that you can be prepared to keep them operational.
  • Change your batteries: Seventy-one percent of smoke alarms which failed to operate had missing, disconnected or dead batteries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Change smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries at least twice a year.
  • Test alarms and detectors: After inserting a fresh battery in each smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector, push the safety test button to ensure they work. Conduct this test monthly. Never disconnect smoke alarm batteries no matter how annoying the sound; remember: a “chirping” alarm signals a need for a fresh battery.
  • Replace smoke alarms: The IAFC recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years and having a combination of both ionization and photo electric smoke alarms to keep you alert to all types of home fires.
  • Change flashlight batteries: Keep flashlights with fresh batteries at your bedside. In the event of a fire, they can provide much needed assistance for finding the way out and signaling for help.
  • Get the family involved: Less than a quarter of U.S. families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Make sure family members, in particular children, know what the alarms and detectors sound like and what they should do if they go off.

In addition to sponsoring this educational campaign, Energizer has donated more than five million batteries to fire departments over the years. To learn more, visit www.energizer.com/responsibility.

Take action for the safety of your family and make sure you have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s the first step to a safer home.