Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today reminded New Yorkers to test and change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
As we set our clocks back this weekend for the end of daylight savings time, I encourage all New Yorkers to also take a few minutes to safeguard their families and homes from the threat of fires, Governor Cuomo said. Testing smoke alarms and CO detectors and changing their batteries on a regular basis are a few easy but important steps that can help prevent a future emergency.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2005-2009 approximately two-thirds of home fire deaths involved properties without working smoke alarms. Many fire departments throughout New York State continue to respond to calls in homes each year where there is no working smoke alarm present. Properly functioning smoke alarms are essential in saving lives from fire.
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane or oil) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. According to the NFPA, from 2006-2010, an estimated 72,000 non-fire carbon monoxide incidents were reported to U.S. fire departments each year and these incidents have been increasing over time. Carbon monoxide incidents are most common during the months of November through February.
Jerome M. Hauer, Commissioner, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services said, You may have as little as three minutes to get out of your home or apartment before a fire becomes deadly. Working smoke alarms provide early warning of a fire and can provide extra time to escape safely. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, however, may not do their job if homeowners and renters dont test them regularly and change the batteries to make sure that they are working properly.
Bryant D. Stevens, New York State Fire Administrator said, Although a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector greatly increases your chances of surviving; only half of those who own smoke or carbon monoxide alarms say that they take the time to check it regularly. Take the time this weekend to ensure the safety of your family by testing, cleaning and replacing the batteries in all of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Governor Cuomo recommends that New Yorkers take the following steps to ensure the safety of themselves and their loved ones:
- Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards.
- Interconnect all smoke alarms and CO alarms so that when one sounds, they all sound.
- Replace all smoke and CO alarms every ten years or according to manufacturers recommendations, especially if they do not respond properly when tested.
- Test all smoke and CO alarms at least once a month.
- If you or someone in your home is deaf or hard of hearing, consider installing an alarm that combines flashing lights, vibration or sound.
- Recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches. High levels of CO can be fatal, causing death within minutes.
- Choose a smoke and CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel arrives.
- Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
- During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
- Generators should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
- Only use gas or charcoal grills outdoors.
For more information on smoke and CO alarms and other home fire safety tips, visit the Office of Fire Prevention and Controls website at www.dhses.ny.gov/OFPC.