This weekend it is as they say, “Time to fall back.” The first weekend of November marks the end of daylight saving time. Daylight saving time ends Sunday, Nov. 1 at 2 a.m. The first thing on the minds of most, is too set back their clocks, but it is a good opportunity for conducting safety checks in your home.
“As you reset the clocks, take a moment to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and check the supplies in your emergency kits,” said Dr. Darrell Williams, Wisconsin Emergency Management administrator. “The few minutes it takes to make sure they are working properly and are fully stocked could help save your life.”
Smoke detectors sound the alarm when there’s a fire in your home, and it’s important the devices are kept in good working order. The National Fire Protection Association says three out of every five home fire deaths occurred when smoke detectors were either not present or were not working properly. Detectors should be tested monthly and should be replaced every 10 years.
It is also a great time to have your furnace or wood-burning stove inspected, before the colder weather sets in. Hire a professional to make sure it is in good working order and vents properly to the outside of your home. Any heating device that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide.
Approximately 500 people are treated at hospital emergency rooms across the state annually for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Health officials say having working carbon monoxide detectors could prevent many of these cases. Those devices should be replaced every five years.
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.
If you have an emergency kit at home, now is a great time to check for expired products or items that may have been borrowed for other purposes and need to be replaced. Pay attention to items such as batteries, first aid supplies, and food, which should be replaced regularly. Having a well-stocked kit is important, in the event you lose power or are stuck at home during a winter storm.