Fall Back: Change your clocks, batteries during Daylight Saving Time

  • Published
  • By By Eric Crognale, Fire Inspector, DLA Installation Management Richmond

Daylight Saving Time is Nov. 1. As you move your clocks back an hour, don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and other home safety devices.

Having a working smoke detector can mean the difference between life and death. The death rate is twice as high for home fires where the smoke detectors are either absent or not working, according to a 2019 report by National Fire Protection Association researcher Marty Ahrens.
A smoke detector cannot operate without working batteries, so this Daylight Saving Time is an excellent opportunity to remind yourself to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors at home. In addition, you should test them at least once per month so you know if batteries need to be replaced.

The National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72) requires that a working smoke detector be installed in every room used for sleeping and outside every sleeping area, as well as on every level of the home including the basement. Install new smoke detectors either on the ceiling, or on a wall within 12 inches (30cm) of the ceiling. Understand that smoke rises to the highest point of the ceiling and then builds downward. The lower your smoke detectors, the longer it will take for the smoke to reach the sensor to activate the alarm.

If you have any appliances in your home that use wood or natural gas for fuel, you should have at least one carbon monoxide (CO) detector. Like the smoke detectors, you should also change the batteries in your CO detector at least once per year.
Unlike smoke, carbon monoxide sinks to the floor and builds upward, so your CO detectors should be located closer to the floor.

Let Daylight Saving Time serve as a reminder that when you change your clocks, also change your batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. A few minutes could save your life.