Time to change the clocks, and fire alarm batteries

ALBANY — With Daylight Savings time starting Sunday, the Firemen’s Association of the state of New York urges all New Yorkers to take time to check their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure their homes are properly protected, according to a news release.

If alarms have removeable batteries, those batteries should be replaced. Alarms equipped with sealed-in batteries should be tested to ensure they are in proper working condition. Alarms that are more than 10 years old should be replaced.    

At the end of 2015, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that will require all smoke alarms sold in the state to be equipped with sealed-in, non-removable batteries that last for at least 10 years. The new law will take effect in 2019 and marks a step toward improving fire safety.

According to research from the National Fire Protection Association three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms, and the vast majority of smoke alarm failures are due to dead or missing batteries. Ten-year smoke alarms require little maintenance, and unlike alarms with removable batteries, they are nearly impossible to deactivate.

Regardless of the type of alarm in one’s home, FASNY urges everybody to take some time and ensure their alarms are in proper working order.

“Smoke alarms are the single most importance appliance found in every home,” said FASNY president Ken Pienkowski. “FASNY urges all New Yorkers to conduct routine, simple maintenance to ensure these lifesaving devices are in proper order. We strongly encourage New Yorkers to install 10-year smoke alarms, which cannot be easily deactivated. Equally important is installing and maintaining carbon monoxide alarms, which are also critical in protecting life.”

FASNY smoke and CO alarm tips:

∫ Test alarms at least once a month by using the test button.

∫ If you have an alarm with a removable battery, be sure to 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 have accumulated 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.

For more information on smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and other information on fire safety and prevention, visit www.fasny.com or www.nfpa.gov.