“Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors save lives, but they’re only effective when they’re working properly,” State Fire Commissioner Ed Mann said. “It only takes a few minutes, but it can save you from a lifetime of heartache should a fire destroy your property or claim the life of a loved one.”
Before installing a detector or an alarm, Mann suggested writing the purchase date inside the unit. Whether a unit is battery-powered or hardwired, it should be replaced every eight to 10 years. Some newer models have a sealed battery compartment with a lifespan of eight to 10 years, and after that time, a new unit must be purchased.
Working smoke alarms cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire. Worn or missing batteries are the most common cause of a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector malfunction. Changing the batteries at least once a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to prevent tragic deaths and injuries.
Carbon monoxide is created when combustible materials burn incompletely. Often called “the silent killer,” it is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can incapacitate victims before they’re aware they’ve been exposed. Sources of carbon monoxide can include wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, gas-fired appliances, grills, and motor vehicles.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for the flu and include nausea, headaches, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue.
Mann said this weekend also serves as an ideal time for families to review and practice their home evacuation plans.
Information about how to prevent fires and prepare for emergencies is available online at www.ReadyPA.org.
For more information about the fire service in Pennsylvania, visit www.osfc.state.pa.us, or call 1-800-670-3473.