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Boreal Community Media

Change your clocks – and your alarm batteries – this Sunday

Nov 03, 2022 09:58AM ● By Editor
Photo:  MN DPS

From the Minnesota Department of Public Safety • November 3, 2022

It's that time of year again. Halloween is in the rear-view mirror, the weather is getting chilly, the leaves are falling, and we are all falling back an hour as Daylight Saving Time comes to an end.

While you're changing your clocks on Sunday, take the time to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

During a fire, each second is precious. Fires double in size every minute, so by the time you smell smoke or feel heat, it may be too late. A smoke alarm can buy you the precious seconds you and your family need to escape a burning home.

Carbon monoxide, on the other hand, is odorless, tasteless and invisible. Without an alarm, you'll likely never know it's there until you start showing symptoms of CO poisoning, like headache, nausea, fatigue and vomiting.

Having both types of alarms installed can mean the difference between life and death, but only if they work. By far, the most common reason alarms don't work is lack of power. People burn something in the kitchen and take out the battery to the smoke alarm, or the battery dies, and people don't know or just don't get around to replacing it.

If you do have an issue with false alarms blaring while you're just trying to get dinner on the table, it could be time to replace your smoke alarm. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, alarms become more sensitive as they age. We recommend replacing your smoke alarms every 10 years.

Hands holding a smoke alarm with the battery door open and a 9-volt battery ready to be inserted

It's not enough to change the batteries; test your alarms monthly.

Working smoke alarms cut in half your risk of dying in a fire. We suggest you do the following to make sure your smoke alarms work:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
  • Interconnect your home's smoke alarms. This way, when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Teach children the sound of the smoke alarm and to exit your home when it sounds.
  • Place alarms on the ceiling.

Carbon monoxide alarms save lives every year. We recommend:

  • Installing carbon monoxide alarms within 10 feet of each sleeping room.
  • Clearing snow and debris from your furnace, dryer, fireplace or oven vents around your home.
  • Keeping cooking and heating units that burn fuel properly ventilated.

If an alarm sounds, evacuate immediately and call 911 from outside. People die every year in Minnesota in homes where there were no alarms or the alarms were not working. These deaths are preventable.​​