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Turn the clocks back; turn your safety forward

by jmaloni


Tue, Oct 27th 2015 03:25 pm

As we "fall back," be sure your home is protected against fire and CO

Submitted by the Firemen's Association of the State of New York

It's that time of the year again: On Nov. 1, daylight saving time comes to an end and we "fall back" one hour.

It's the perfect time to make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in proper working condition. The Firemen's Association of the State of New York urges all New Yorkers to make sure their homes are protected.

Smoke and CO alarms should be cleaned to remove any debris that could impede their function. Older alarms that have removable batteries should receive a fresh set. Many newer smoke alarms feature longer lasting, sealed-in 10-year batteries. These alarms should still be tested and inspected regularly, but require far less maintenance than those with removable batteries, making a homeowner's life both easier and safer.

"If working properly, smoke alarms can be the difference between life and death," FASNY President Robert McConville said. "Often, firefighters respond to devastating fatal fires that could have been prevented if the home was equipped with working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are, quite frankly, the most important appliance in your home. Not only can they help to save your life and home, but also the lives of firefighters who are tasked with protecting the public."

While many homes and businesses are equipped with smoke alarms, the simple truth is that many of these alarms are nonfunctioning. Firefighters frequently encounter smoke alarms that have been disabled or fallen into disrepair due to a lack of maintenance. FASNY is supporting state legislation that would require all battery-powered smoke alarms sold in New York to come equipped with non-removable, sealed-in batteries capable of powering the device for at least 10 years.

The National Fire Protection Association states three of every five home fire deaths happen in a home with no smoke alarms or nonworking smoke alarms. The 10-year smoke alarm bill directly addresses this critical problem. This legislation has passed both the State Senate and Assembly, and awaits Gov. Andrew Cuomo's action.

FASNY offers the following smoke and CO alarm tips:

  • Test alarms at least once a month by using the test button.
  • Check the batteries every six months, and change the batteries every year (if applicable). If a battery is starting to lose its power, the unit will usually chirp to warn you. Do not disable the unit.
  • Vacuum or blow out any dust that might accumulate in the unit.
  • Never borrow a battery from an alarm to use somewhere else.
  • Never paint a smoke or CO alarm.
  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home, including the basement, and in, or near each sleeping area.
  • Smoke alarms should not be installed near a window, because drafts could interfere with their operation.
  • Smoke alarms should be completely replaced every 10 years.
  • Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan.

For more information on smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and other information on fire safety and prevention, visit www.fasny.com and www.nfpa.org.

Founded in 1872, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York represents the interests of the more than 92,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.

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