'Spring Forward': A Good Time to Check Batteries in Your Smoke Alarms

FRIDAY, March 10, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- When you turn your clock forward for the start of daylight saving time, take time for some potentially life-saving safety checks.

“When moving your clocks forward, remember to check every level of your home for working smoke and CO alarms,” said Alexander Hoehn-Saric, chair of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). “Use this additional daylight to prevent home fires by cleaning clothes dryer vents.”

So, he advised, add these chores to your weekend "to-do" list: Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, and clean accumulated lint from clothes dryer vents.

About 360,000 residential fires happen in the United States each year, according to CPSC estimates. These kill 2,390 people, injure 10,860 and cause $7.34 billion in property damage.

Properly installing, operating and maintaining smoke and CO alarms reduces the risk, the CPSC noted in a news release.

The group recommends installing smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside each bedroom and outside sleeping areas. Install CO alarms on each level and outside sleeping areas.

Test the alarms monthly. Replace batteries at least yearly, unless the alarms have sealed 10-year batteries. Timing battery replacement to the seasonal time change is an easy way to keep it in mind.

Clothes dryers cause about 6,400 fires annually in the United States that injure 180 people and do $105 million in property damage.

The CPSC says you should not use a dryer without the lint filter. Make sure the filter is clean before each use. Keep the air exhaust vent pipe unrestricted and the outdoor vent flap open when the dryer is operating. Clean lint out of the vent pipe at least once a year.

More information

Ready.gov has more on fire safety at home.

SOURCE: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, news release, March 8, 2023

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