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Daylight Savings = Safety Check Time

When the clocks change for Daylight Savings Time, it is a great opportunity to check on household alarm batteries - in particular, fire alarms and carbon monoxide testers. Here is an HSW post that emphasizes the importance of these detectors and will help you ensure you have all bases covered ;-)

March 13, 2011 - @dvice: Spring forward with safety in mind - Replace smoke and CO alarm batteries for Daylight Saving Time

Event Highlights
As we move out clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time, health and safety officials are reminding the public change batteries and test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Below are excerpts from advisories from the Government of New Brunswick and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.  JA
In the U.S., an estimated annual average of 385,100 fires, 2,470 deaths, 12,600 injuries and $6.43 billion in property losses associated with residential fires was reported by fire departments from 2005 through 2007. Of the reported incidents, common household products, such as cooking, heating, and cooling equipment accounted for the largest percentage of fires.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless, poisonous gas that consumers cannot see or smell. On average, there were an estimated 184 unintentional, non-fire CO poisoning deaths annually associated with consumer products from 2004 through 2007 in the U.S. Carbon monoxide associated with generators and home heating systems accounted for the largest percentage of reported fatalities.

Recommendations•Place a smoke alarm outside every sleeping area and on every level of the home. If you sleep with the bedroom door closed, install a smoke alarm inside the bedroom.
•Each home should have at least one carbon monoxide detector in the area outside individual bedrooms.
•Replace the batteries in smoke and CO alarms at least once a year.
•CO and smoke alarms should be tested monthly. Do this by pressing and holding the test button for a few seconds. The alarm should sound immediately. Replace models that do not have test buttons or that are more than 10 years old.
•Test your smoke alarms while your family is sleeping. This test will confirm if they hear the alarm and can escape from a fire in time.
•To avoid panic and confusion - plan and practise a fire escape route with your family.  
Safety tips to prevent fires and CO poisoning from occurring in the home
Fires•Never leave cooking equipment unattended.•Use caution with candles, lighters, matches and smoking materials near upholstered furniture, mattresses, and bedding. Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.•Have a fire escape plan and practice it, so that family members know what to do and where to meet if there is a fire in the home. Children and the elderly may sleep through or not react to the sound of a smoke alarm; therefore, parents and caregivers should adjust their fire escape plan to help children and the elderly escape from the house in the event of a fire.

CO Poisoning
•Have a professional inspect home heating, cooling, and water-heating appliances annually. Improperly operating appliances can produce fatal CO concentrations in the home.•Never ignore a CO alarm signal. It is warning you of a potentially deadly hazard. If the alarm signal sounds, do NOT try to find the source of the CO. Immediately move outside to fresh air. Call your emergency services, fire department, or 911.•Never use a portable generator indoors - including in garages, basements, crawlspaces and sheds. Opening doors and windows or using fans will NOT prevent CO build up in the home.•When using portable generators, keep them outdoors and far away from open doors, windows, and vents to avoid toxic levels of CO from building up indoors.•If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away. The CO from generators can quickly lead to full incapacitation and death.•Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal in an enclosed space can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

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