As you set the clocks forward this weekend, ReadyWisconsin is encouraging the public to take advantage of the time change to test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and replace the batteries.
"An important part of home safety is making sure the systems that protect us are working properly," Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula said. "Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors provide a crucial early warning to danger in your home. The time change this weekend provides an excellent opportunity to check those devices while you are resetting your clocks."
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 3 out of every 5 home fire deaths occurred when smoke detectors were either not present or were not working properly. Detectors should be tested monthly and the device itself should be replaced every 10 years.
The record-breaking cold temperatures Wisconsin has seen this winter have had many furnaces working overtime, which can increase the risk of carbon monoxide leaks in the home.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says approximately 500 people are treated at hospital emergency rooms across the state annually for carbon monoxide poisoning, and many of those cases could be prevented by having working carbon monoxide detectors.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea and confusion. At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes. If you suspect you or someone may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, or your detector sounds an alarm, go outside immediately for fresh air and call 911.
To protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide, follow these safety tips:
• All homes and duplexes in Wisconsin are required to have detectors on every level, including the basement, but not the attic or storage areas. Detectors can be purchased at most hardware stores. Daylight saving time is a good time each year to replace the batteries in your detector and push the test button to be sure it's working properly. Replace your detector every five years.
• Have your furnace or wood-burning stove inspected annually. Hire a professional to make sure it is functionally sound and vents properly outside the home.
• Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home or in an unventilated garage. Any heating system that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide. Use a battery-powered detector where you have fuel burning devices but no electric outlets, such as in tents, cabins, RVs and boats with enclosed cabins.
• Generators should be run at a safe distance (at least 20 feet) from the home. Never run a generator in the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors.
• Never run a car in an enclosed space. If a vehicle is running, you must have a door open to the outside.
Daylight saving time begins Sunday, March 10, at 2 a.m.
For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning, visit dhs.wisconsin.gov/air/co.html.
For tips on emergency preparedness, visit readywisconsin.wi.gov and follow ReadyWisconsin on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.