(By Matthew R. Love) Every fall, FMBFD would like to take the opportunity to provide a crucial reminder. The simple habit of changing and testing the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms when setting the clocks back in November for Daylight Saving Time can save a life.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that 71% of smoke alarms which failed
to operate had missing, disconnected or dead batteries. This reinforces how important it is to take
this time each year to check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
A smoke alarm cannot operate without working batteries, so this Daylight Saving Time is an excellent opportunity to remind yourself to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms at home. In addition, you should test them at least once per month so you know if batteries need replacement.
The NFPA requires a working smoke alarm be installed in every room used for sleeping and
outside every sleeping area, as well as on every level of the home. Install new smoke alarms
either on the ceiling, or on a wall within twelve inches of the ceiling.
Understand that smoke rises to the highest point of the ceiling and then builds downward. The lower your smoke alarms, the longer it will take for smoke to reach the sensor and activate the alarm.
If you have any appliances in your home using wood or natural gas for fuel, you should have at
least one carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Like the smoke alarms, you should also change the
batteries in your CO alarm at least once per year.
Unlike smoke, carbon monoxide sinks to the floor and builds upward, so your CO alarms shouldbe located closer to the floor.
Let Daylight Saving Time serve as a reminder that when you change your clocks, also change
your batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. A few minutes could save a life!
Matt Love has been the Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief since 2016. In 2019 he was selected by the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Lee County Florida as Fire Chief of the Year. He can be reached at the fire department at 239- 590-4200