It's that time of year when we move our clocks ahead an hour and gain a little bit of extra sunlight in our day. In case you missed it, Daylight Savings Time starts this Sunday, March 12th at 2am.

If there's one thing you do this weekend, please make a point to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure that they’re functioning and replace the batteries if needed. You might also want to pull out the vacuum and run it over the detectors to keep them free of dust and other stuff so they work properly.

In my house, we have battery operated smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that talk to each other, so if one goes off, they all start going off and not only do they beep, but they speak, telling us to evacuate. I thought that we had a pretty complex smoke and carbon monoxide detection system, but starting in 2018, we'll be behind the times because that's when a wave of new smoke detectors will hit store shelves and these new devices will eliminate the need to check the batteries every six months.

Starting on January 1, 2018, all battery operated smoke alarms sold in New York State will come with batteries that have a 10-year life. And you won't be able to remove the batteries.

Think about all of the tragedies we've seen in this area alone of people, even entire families, dying in house fires because they didn't have working smoke alarms. The hope is that with these new smoke detectors with non-removable batteries, people won't forget to change them out, and won't be able to borrow the batteries for other gadgets. This should lead to fewer malfunctions and hopefully more lives saved.

In a news release published by the Fireman's Association of the State of New York, Corning Fire Chief Brad Davies said, “It’s a great insurance policy. It seems to me to be a no-brainer.”

By the way, if you're a renter, under New York State law, your landlord is responsible for making sure that you have adequate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If they haven't provided these for you, you might want to send them a copy of the rules as issued by the New York State Division of Code Enforcement and Administration.


[via The Fireman's Association of the State of New York/New York Association of Fire Chiefs/New York State Division of Code Enforcement and Administration]