With Daylight Savings Time beginning on Sunday at 2 a.m., New Yorkers move their clocks forward one hour to 3 a.m. Local Daylight Time.
It is also the ideal time to safeguard the home and workplace from preventable tragedy, according to the Firemen's Association of the State of New York, which asks the public to check the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are functioning and replace the batteries if needed. FASNY also recommends that people dust or vacuum the detectors to keep them free of debris, so they can work properly.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, in more than one-third of home fire deaths, no smoke alarms were present. In one-quarter of home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present, but did not sound, and 36 percent of fatal fire victims never wake up before being injured.
"If there is a fire in the home and an existing alarm does not sound, the top three reasons are: disconnected; missing; or dead batteries," according to James Burns, FASNY president. "Now, when you are adjusting your clocks to Daylight Savings Time, is the perfect opportunity to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace the batteries. Too often we have seen fire and carbon monoxide lead to preventable tragedy brought about by the lack of a functioning detector."
Other smoke and carbon monoxide detector tips include:
Test detectors at least once a month by using the test button.
Check the batteries every six months, and change the batteries 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 a detector to use somewhere else.
Never paint a smoke or carbon monoxide detector.
Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home, including the basement, and in, or near each sleeping area.
Smoke detectors 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.