Spring Forward and Check Your Smoke Alarms
It's time to check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. You should be doing this at least once a year and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission usually recommends you do so when you reset your clocks, either when we spring forward to Daylight Savings Time or in the fall, when we revert to standard time zones.
So, if you didn't check these essential household protection devices over the weekend, take time to do so this week. Replace the batteries if you didn't in the fall and test them to make sure they are working. In fact, you should test your smoke and CO alarms every month, the CPSC advises. And you should make sure there's an alarm on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom.
And how old are those alarms? Some manufacturers recommend you replace smoke alarms every 10 years and CO alarms every 5. Why? Their sensors can degrade from age and environmental contamination, the CPSC says.
Also remember, if your family has small children, you should come up with additional fire-safety strategies, including escape plans and practice drills, because recent studies have indicated that children younger than 16 may not always be awakened by smoke alarms. Some manufacturers are starting to address that issue, offering alarms that can record a parent's voice on the theory that children would be more likely to respond. (At my house, I'm not sure that would work--my voice is the LAST thing my kids want to hear. But then again they're older than 16, which may explain everything). Meanwhile the CPSC is researching ways to improve the alarm's audibility for children and hearing-impaired adults.
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