Be Sure to check your Smoke Alarms this Weekend!

Time to check your smoke alarms when you turn back your clocks


Photo courtesy Newark, CA Patch

This weekend it will be time to “fall back” into Standard Time. Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, which means you’ll want to check your smoke alarms and turn your clocks back before you go to bed Saturday night, November 3rd.

You “gained” an “extra” hour.  What will you do with it?

While Daylight Saving Time wasn’t adopted in this country until the 1900’s, the concept has been around for a long time. Several ancient civilizations used water clocks that were adjusted throughout the year. In modern times, none other than Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay in 1784, “An Economical Project,” suggesting Daylight Saving Time as a way to save candles. The time change finally caught on in the United States in 1918 when President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law to help the war effort during World War I. Back then, it was called Fast Time. After WWI ended, it was discontinued. President Franklin D. Roosevelt reinstated it in 1942 at the start of World War II. We have observed it in this country ever since.

Who else observes Daylight Saving Time?

Currently, some 70 countries around the world observe it. The greater their distance from the equator, the more likely nations are to change their clocks. China, India and Japan are the only major industrialized nations that do not spring forward (Standard Time) and fall back (Daylight Saving Time).

Speaking of saving an hour, let’s not forget an important task that we can perform that could do more than save an hour: changing the batteries in your smoke alarm and CO detector. It could save a life!

Check your smoke alarms even if they 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. As a result of CO poisoning, annual estimates suggest that on average 1701 to 15002 people lose their lives.

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.

By the way, 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 November. This coming Sunday is the first one in November.check your smoke alarms when you change your clocks this weekend

Get in the Habit

Twice a year, when Daylight Saving Time begins or ends, get into these habits.  Change not only your clocks; do these other semi-annual tasks to 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).
  • Make a “winter car-emergency kit” now and put it in 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 duffel/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 your 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 all 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!

The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced on November 2nd, 2007 in their press release #08-062, that people should not only 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. 

Therefore be sure to remember to check your smoke alarms this weekend!  Your life could depend on it.

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.

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


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

5. When Does Daylight Saving Time 2016 End? Newark, CA, October 21, 2016