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Citizens Urged to Test, Change Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Batteries This Weekend

Harrisburg, PA - State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay advised Pennsylvanians that this is the weekend – the end of daylight saving time - when they should test smoke alarms and change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors if needed.

“When we change clocks, it should be automatic that you check your smoke alarms and change any batteries that need to be changed,” Solobay said. “It takes just a few minutes, and is a potentially life-saving investment of your time and energy.”

Most newer models of smoke alarms come with batteries that will last ten years but must be tested weekly; older models have batteries that must be changed regularly to ensure they work properly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (38%) or no working smoke alarms (21%).

“Smoke alarms alert you to a problem in your home, and that few minutes’ warning can make the difference between everyone getting out safely and a tragedy,” Solobay said.

Solobay pointed out that carbon monoxide detectors should be tested and batteries changed as well, particularly as the weather turns colder and people start using things like wood or coal stoves and gas furnaces to heat their homes.

Carbon monoxide is created when combustible materials burn incompletely. Often called “the silent killer,” it is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that can incapacitate victims before they’re aware they’ve been exposed, and leaves them unable to call 9-1-1 for help. Sources include wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, gas-fired fireplaces, appliances, grills and generators, and motor vehicles.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for the flu and include nausea, headaches, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue.

Solobay said this weekend is also a good time for families to review and practice their home fire escape plans. More information about fire safety and the fire service is available online at or

Media contact: Ruth A. Miller: 717-651-2009;

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