Change Your Clock, Change Your Smoke Alarm Batteries

The Campbell River Fire Department is reminding people to put new batteries in smoke alarms when we set our clocks to ‘fall back’ one hour, at the end of Pacific Daylight Time this Sunday, Nov. 5.

Two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in households without a working smoking alarm.

“The simple act of changing your smoke alarm batteries at least once a year and replacing smoke alarms every seven to 10 years can save your life,” says Thomas Doherty, Deputy Fire Chief for the Campbell River Fire Department.

Special smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hearing-impaired. The National Fire Protection Association reports that working smoke alarms reduce by half the risk of dying in a home fire. Research has also demonstrated that photoelectric smoke alarms are more effective at warning people of smoke from smoldering fires than ionization smoke alarms. With earlier warning, people have more time to escape a burning structure and call 9-1-1.

Firefighters recommend installing a smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on each floor of your home.

“You should also install carbon monoxide alarms in your home and check them once a month,” says Doherty. Carbon monoxide, also known as the “silent killer”, can generate deadly results. Carbon monoxide poisoning is caused by incomplete burning of fuel in furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, cooking appliances, and car engines left idling.

Extremely high levels of carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, causing death within minutes. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include headache, nausea and drowsiness. These symptoms are often mistaken for the flu, and consequently ignored. Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can cause confusion and lead to brain damage.