HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner Ed Mann today reminded residents to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors this weekend when they turn their clocks back one hour.
"Installing and maintaining smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home is one of the most effective things you can do to keep your family safe," Mann said. "It's a small investment of time and money that really does save lives."
Working smoke alarms cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire. Worn or missing batteries are the most common reason why smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors fail. 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 kill before victims are even aware they've been exposed. Sources include wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, gas-fired appliances, grills, and motor vehicles. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for the flu and include nausea, headaches, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue.
Whether a unit is battery-powered or hardwired, it should be replaced every 8-10 years. Mann suggested writing the purchase date inside the unit before installation.
Mann also urged residents to use the "extra" hour they gain from the time change to test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, planning two ways to escape from each room and practicing escape routes with the entire family. Also, check to make sure flashlights are working and have fresh batteries.
Information about how to prevent fires and prepare for emergencies is available online at www.ReadyPA.org. For more information on the fire service in Pennsylvania, visit www.osfc.state.pa.us, or call 1-800-670-3473.
Media contact: Ruth A. Miller, 717-651-2009
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner