MADISON, Wis. — As you turn back the clocks around your home this weekend, take advantage of the time change to replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
“Those devices can be essential to alerting you to a fire or carbon monoxide leak in your home, so it’s important to regularly check them and make sure they are working properly,” said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula. “The time change on Nov. 4 provides an excellent opportunity and a reminder to make sure that’s being done.”
Smoke detectors are often the first alert you will get that there is a fire in your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of every five home fire deaths occurred when smoke detectors were either not present or were not working properly. Detectors should be tested monthly and the device itself should be replaced every 10 years.
In addition to smoke detectors, make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. Approximately 500 people are treated at hospital emergency rooms across the state annually for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Health officials say many of these cases could be prevented by having working carbon monoxide detectors.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, and confusion. At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes. If you suspect you or someone may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, or your detector sounds an alarm, go outside immediately for fresh air and call 911.
To protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide, follow these safety tips:
All homes and duplexes in Wisconsin are required to have detectors on every level, including the basement, but not the attic or storage areas. Detectors can be purchased at most hardware stores. Daylight saving time is a good time each year to replace the batteries in your detector and push the test button to be sure it’s working properly. Replace your detector every five years.
Have your furnace or wood-burning stove inspected annually. Hire a professional to make sure it is functionally sound and vents properly outside the home.
Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home or in an unventilated garage. Any heating system that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide. Use a battery-powered detector where you have fuel burning devices but no electric outlets, such as in tents, cabins, RVs and boats with enclosed cabins.
Generators should be run at a safe distance (at least 20 feet) from the home. Never run a generator in the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors.
Never run a car in an enclosed space. If a vehicle is running, you must have a door open to the outside.
Daylight saving time ends Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 a.m.