For Immediate Release
November 03, 2017

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Fire Prevention and Control Reminds New Yorkers to Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms This Weekend

End of Daylight Saving Time is an Important Reminder to Replace Batteries in All Smoke Detectors and CO Alarms

As Daylight Saving Time comes to an end this Sunday, all New Yorkers will set their clocks back one hour.  Officials at the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services remind residents to use the time change to practice some simple, but important safety steps to ensure their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly.


“Working smoke alarms are the single most important tool in getting out alive during a fire,” said Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Roger L. Parrino Sr. “Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can only save your life if they are functioning.  Give you and your family the vital time needed to escape a fire by ensuring that these life-saving devices are in working order.”


Research by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) indicates that while 94% of American homes have at least one smoke alarm, more than one third are inoperable because of dead or missing batteries.  Nearly half of our nation’s fire deaths occur in the 6% of homes with no smoke alarms at all.


“Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be tested once a month, and batteries in these devices should be replaced at least two times a year,” said State Fire Administrator Skip Nerney.  “Replace the batteries in your devices when you change your clocks, and then test your alarms by pushing the test button.  It is the easiest and most important step to take to protect your family from the dangers of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.”


According to the Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America.  Although it has no smell or taste, carbon monoxide kills more than 400 people every year, sends more than 20,000 people to the emergency room, and hospitalizes more than 4,000 people.  The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are flu-like, including headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and confusion.  Prolonged exposure can result in vomiting, blackouts and, eventually, brain damage and death.


Commissioner Parrino and State Fire Administrator Nerney provided some additional, important safety tips from the Office of Fire Prevention and Control about smoke and carbon monoxide alarms:


Smoke Alarms


  • Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • For the best protection, interconnect all alarms so that when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Alarms should never be disconnected and batteries should never be removed.
  • For alarms powered by a nine-volt battery:

o   Test monthly.

o   Replace the batteries at least once every year.

o   Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.

  • For alarms powered by a 10-year lithium (or “long-life”) battery:

o   Test the alarm monthly.

o   Since you cannot (and should not) replace the lithium battery, replace the entire smoke alarm according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • For alarms hardwired into your home's electrical system:

o   Test the alarm monthly.

o   Replace the backup battery at least once every year.

o   Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms


  • Install CO alarms on every floor and in sleeping areas to fully protect your family
  • Replace CO alarms installed five or more years ago
  • If an alarm is mounted on a ceiling, it should be installed away from existing smoke alarms to be able to distinguish between CO and smoke alarms in an emergency


For more information on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and other home fire safety tips, visit OFPC’s website at


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