This weekend, it’s time to change your clocks
– and check your smoke alarm batteries
NEW YORK (March 10, 2021) – On March 14, New Yorkers will set their clocks forward one hour in observance of Daylight Saving Time. The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) is urging everyone to take this opportunity to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Homeowners with alarms that have sealed, non-removable batteries should test the alarms to see if they are functional.
Batteries in these life-saving devices should be changed twice a year, and homeowners should test alarms monthly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or without working smoke alarms. Last year New York was third in the nation in home fire deaths with 114 fatalities.
“During a fire, smoke and fire spreads quickly and every second counts,” said FASNY President John P. Farrell. “Smoke alarms play a vital role in reducing home fire deaths and injuries. Everyone in the house should know how to reach the closest exit if they are awakened by the smoke alarm.”
Many New Yorkers may be staying at home more or have moved due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Homeowners and renters should make sure there are enough smoke alarms in the home and that they are functioning.
In 2019, a law was passed requiring all smoke alarms sold in the state to be equipped with sealed, non-removable batteries that will last for at least 10 years. Smoke alarms equipped with sealed, non-removable batteries are nearly impossible to disable and require little maintenance. This law is intended to reduce the high number of home fire deaths across New York.
“Simply checking that the alarm is functioning can save a life one day,” Farrell said. “The 10-year alarms with sealed-in batteries should still be tested and maintained. We want all New Yorkers to be safe throughout the year.”
Safety tips provided by FASNY and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):
Test alarms at least once a month by using the test button.
If you have a smoke alarm with a removable battery, be sure to check the batteries every six months and change the batteries at least every year. If a battery is starting to lose its power, the unit will usually chirp to warn you. Do NOT disable the unit.
Vacuum or blow out any dust that might accumulate in the unit.
NEVER borrow a battery from an alarm to use somewhere else.
NEVER paint a smoke or CO alarm.
Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home, including the basement and in or near each sleeping area.
Smoke alarms should not be installed near a window, because drafts could interfere with their operation.
Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan.
Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing smoke alarms and replacing the batteries.
(Firemen’s Association of the State of New York)