State Fire Commissioner Ed Mann urges residents to change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when they turn their clocks back this weekend.
“Tragically, every year in Pennsylvania, people require medical treatment or even die due to carbon monoxide poisoning,” Mann said. “These devices are not expensive, they save lives, and once they’re installed, need to be maintained regularly.”
Working smoke alarms cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire. Worn or missing batteries are the most common cause of a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector malfunction. Changing the batteries at least once a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to prevent tragic deaths and injuries.
Carbon monoxide is created when combustible materials burn incompletely. Often called “the silent killer,” it is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can incapacitate victims before they’re aware they’ve been exposed. 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.
Before installing a detector or an alarm, Mann suggests writing the purchase date inside the unit. Whether a unit is battery-powered or hardwired, the unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.
Mann said this weekend also serves as an ideal time for families to review their home evacuation plans. All family members should plan two ways to escape from each room and practice escape routes with the entire family.
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