With daylight saving time coming to an end Sunday morning at 2 a.m., local firefighters are hoping residents change more than just their clocks.
Jason Shivers, division chief for the Forsyth County Fire Department, said that the department recommends using the time change to put new batteries into smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, as batteries typically need to be replaced once or twice a year.
“It’s simply a fire service industry recommendation to change your smoke alarm battery when the time changes, purely because it is easy to remember,” Shivers said. “There’s nothing scientific to it in any way, but battery changes in smoke alarms typically need to be done every six to 12 months.”
Shivers said that smoke alarms are important to firefighting because the human body cannot detect smoke while it is asleep.
“Smoke alarms are absolutely critical to alerting anyone to fire, most especially when you’re asleep,” he said. “When you’re asleep, your sense of smell turns off. … It’s not a critical element and your brain turns it off when you’re asleep.”
Smoke alarms should be placed outside of bedrooms and on every floor of a house, and should be cleared of dust. Shivers said the alarms should also stay out of kitchens, as the steam and smoke from cooking can set them off.
Carbon monoxide alarms are also crucial for those with fireplaces or those who have gas appliances, including hot water heaters, kitchen appliances and heaters.
“If you have anything in your home that burns any kind of gas, propane or natural gas, or if you have a fireplace and you burn in your fireplace, you need a carbon monoxide alarm,” Shivers said. “Most homes in Forsyth County do have some form of gas appliance.”
Shivers said that while doing other fire safety measures, families should also use the day to form their fire escape plans.
Though changing batteries applies to the majority of homeowners, Shivers said that some newer models of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms have batteries that last the lifetime of the alarm and cannot be replaced. Shivers said owners should look at the manufacturer’s recommendations for changes.
“This is not something I would have had to talk about in years past until just recently, but now a common finding is that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are being manufactured with lifetime batteries,” Shivers said. “So oftentimes, they are not serviceable. Their batteries are built into the unit and designed to last the life of the unit, which is typically 10 years.”