In anticipation of daylight saving time ending on Nov. 1, State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci is urging Marylanders to “Change Your Clock – Change Your Battery” in both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in their homes.
Recognizing that working smoke alarms and CO detectors double a family’s chance of surviving a home fire and unsafe carbon monoxide levels, the state fire marshal says the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time is an excellent opportunity for families to change the batteries.
“Please take the little time required to help ensure the safety of your family and friends by maintaining these early warning life-saving devices.”
A Maryland law became effective on July 1, 2013, involving “battery only” smoke alarms used in residential properties. When these “battery only” smoke alarms have reached their 10-year life span, they need to be replaced with new long-life sealed lithium battery smoke alarms with silence/hush button features.
The silence/hush button feature temporarily disables the alarm so the occupant can ventilate the space from mild smoke conditions typically created during some cooking operations. The use of these alarms eliminates the need to replace the batteries during the alarm’s 10-year life.
The law also requires homeowners to ensure they have a smoke alarm installed on each floor and outside sleeping areas, per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommendations. It is recommended to place them in each bedroom as well.
If your property is protected with 120-volt electric smoke alarms, they should be replaced every 10 years with new 120-volt smoke alarms with battery back-up to ensure proper and timely operation in the event of a fire.
Along with working smoke alarms and CO detectors, home escape plans are another way Marylanders can avoid injury or death in their homes. By identifying at least two different escape routes, families can practice the plan together — before an emergency strikes.
Practicing the plan helps educate younger children about the danger of hazardous situations and the importance of recognizing that a smoke alarm or CO detector’s sound signals a potential hazard in the home.
“Changing the battery in your smoke alarms and CO detectors, along with developing and practicing a home escape plan, are two of the best ways to protect your loved ones and yourself from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning,” Geraci said.
Also, please remember to keep doors closed while sleeping in case a fire occurs inside your home. A closed door will allow more time to escape or be rescued by blocking smoke, toxic gases, heat, and flames from entering your room. If making your escape from a burning building, close doors as you leave to stop additional oxygen from entering and enhancing the fire’s growth.