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Think safety as the U.S. springs forward for Daylight Savings Time

Change-Your-Clock-Check-Your-BatteriesToday, March 13, marks Daylight Saving Time when the United States springs forward.

You’ve probably already set with many computers and smartphones now changing the time automatically.

Remember safety, too, on Daylight Savings Time Day by changing the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Although many devices and clocks will adjust automatically, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms need a your attention.

An annual average of 362,000 unintentional residential fires resulting in about 2,400 deaths, 10,400 injuries, and $7 billion in property losses each year from 2016 through 2018 have occurred, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates.

African Americans have the highest rate of fire deaths, nearly twice the overall rate across the population, a CPSC report shows.

Forty-six percent of home fires and 55 percent of the home fire deaths occur between November and March, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The NFPA estimated that 57 percent of deaths occur in homes with no or non-working smoke alarms.

From 1980 to 2018, the CPSC reports a 64 percent decline in residential fires, a 63 percent decline in fire deaths, and a 60 percent decline in fire injuries.

Although there has been significant progress and success, more can be done to decrease deaths related to carbon monoxide exposure from the use of consumer products, which claim the lives of about 192 people every year.

Safety tips

  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly to make sure they are working. The CPSC recommends installing smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside each bedroom and outside sleeping areas. 
  • Change the batteries: Batteries should be replaced in alarms at least once each year, unless the alarms have sealed 10-year batteries. Replace the smoke alarm if it’s more than 10 years old.
  • Practice a fire escape plan: Make sure there are two ways out from each room and a clear path to outside from each exit. Once out, stay out.

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