It’s that time of year again, when we ‘Fall Back’ and change our clocks.

Originally published in 2012, we thought it would be good to bring back again.

This weekend, we will be setting our clocks back 1 hour.  This is a great time to do a few other things, such as change out the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.

There  was a time when we had a customer call us asking to check one of her smoke alarms.  She had no electricity for a few hours, and it was beeping as if the battery was low during that time.  When the power was restored, the beeping stopped.  She asked why that would be.  With the restoration of power, the smoke alarm was now energized and did not need battery power to operate it.  Hence, the beeping stopped.

Even if your alarms and detectors are hooked up to electric, they have back-up batteries in them.  Change them whether you think they need changed or not!

What would have happened if there was a fire?  It is not uncommon for power to be out or cut, and this smoke alarm may not have worked properly because of a weak backup battery in it!

And then there is the situation where four people did not have a carbon monoxide detector in their home and they ended up in the hospital.  Every year estimates suggest that anywhere from an average of 1701 to 15002 people die each year from CO poisoning.

If you don’t have a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector, get one!  Your life, or someone else’s might be be saved some day because of it.

Getting back to changing our clocks…

  • Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the United States at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March.
  • Time reverts to standard time on the first Sunday of NovemberThis Sunday is the first one in November.

Twice a year, when Daylight Saving Time begins or ends, make it a habit to not only change your clocks, but to do a few other semi-annual tasks that will improve safety in your home:

  • Check and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Replace any smoke alarms older than ten years. Replace any CO alarms older than five years.
  • Prepare a disaster supply kit for your house (water, food, flashlights, batteries, blankets).Once you’ve created your home disaster kit, use the semi-annual time change to check its contents (including testing/replacing flashlight batteries).
  • Winter is coming! Make a “winter car-emergency kitnow and put your vehicle! (Don’t know what to include? Do an Internet search for “car emergency kit” and you’ll find lots of ideas!)It’s a good idea to carry a car-emergency kit in your car year-round, but be sure to add cold-weather gear to your general car-emergency kit each fall. (Having a separate duffle/gear bag clearly marked “Cold Gear” specifically for your cold weather emergency gear makes it easy to add or take out of the car, seasonally.)Like a Boy Scout, “Be Prepared!”In cold weather, even a very minor car problem or flat tire can be deadly serious, or at the very least, miserable to deal with, unless you’re well prepared.
  • Check home and outbuilding storage areas for hazardous materials. Discard (properly, please) any which are outdated, no longer used, or in poor condition. Move any which are within reach of kids or pets.
  • Check and discard expired medications – those dates really DO have meaning – some very common over-the-counter medications can cause serious problems due to change through aging.

Do your smoke alarms/detectors really work?  See the latest information here.

Remember to check the AGE of your detectors!

On November 2nd, 2007, the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), press release #08-062, suggested not only to check/change batteries in alarms, but also check the age of the alarms and replace older alarms. The CPSC suggests that consumers

  • replace smoke alarms every ten years and
  • replace carbon monoxide (CO) alarms every five years.

Sensors in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms degrade and lose effectiveness over time through environmental contamination and age.

If you would like to have smoke alarms and/or carbon monoxide alarms installed, or you have some that you would like replaced or additional ones added, please set up a service call request with us at Brubaker Inc. at 717.299.5641 or email us.


Additional commentary on Daylight Saving Time, Smoke Alarms, and CO Detectors:

How did Daylight Saving Time get started anyway?

5 Handy tips to take care of at Daylight Saving Time.

Could This Happen To You?

Smoke alarm safety checklist, compliments of the NFPA.


Additional articles:

1. “Carbon Monoxide: Stopping A Sneaky Killer”,

2. “Fire Hits Lehigh Avenue Home In Lancaster City, Displaces 8”,

3. “City Firefighters Investigate Possible Carbon Monoxide Leak At Church Street Towers”,

4. “CPSC Urges Consumers To Replace Batteries In Smoke And CO Alarms When Turning Clocks Back”, Yahoo! News


1. Carbon Monoxide Questions and Answers. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. CPSC Document #466.

2. ‘The Facts On Carbon Monoxide Poisoning’, Pediatric Views.  Published by Childrens Hospital Boston, February, 2006

3. The Police Notebook, University of Oklahoma Police Department, Published by the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma

4. Lancaster Online, October 31, 2012