Let’s be honest, for most of us setting back our clocks during the fall means we get one more hour of sleep – a welcomed benefit! But did you know that this yearly “fall back” also serves as a reminder to keep up with some safety maintenance?
I’m talking about changing the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide CO2 detectors. Or, installing or replacing missing or broken detectors.
It’s easy to forget about these potentially life-saving devices, especially since, for the most part, they go unused. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20,000 people in the United States become sick by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and approximately 400 people die annually. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are flu-like, including headache, weakness, dizziness, upset stomach and even vomiting.
Carbon monoxide, known as the silent killer, is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. It cannot be detected by humans without the help of a CO2 detector. That’s why it’s critical batteries are replaced periodically to ensure the detector is working properly.
Similarly, smoke alarms provide an early warning of a potential fire, giving homeowners additional time to escape in the event of a fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a fire department survey from 2009-2013 tied 940 deaths per year to homes with no smoke alarms. An additional 510 people died following fires in which smoke alarms were present but failed to operate – commonly the result of dead or no batteries.
Likely, no one will forget to move their clock back one hour this weekend. I’d even venture to say that most of us look forward to it. But just as important as that extra hour of sleep, batteries need to be changed in both your CO2 detector and smoke alarm. Failing to do so won’t interrupt your extra hour of sleep, but it could lead to eternal rest.
Take the time for safety maintenance, the life you save may be your own – or someone you love dearly!