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March 15, 2011 > You changed your clock... did you change your battery?

You changed your clock... did you change your battery?

For years, the Hayward Fire Department has urged residents to change and test smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries when changing clocks forward each spring. In the event of a fire, properly installed and maintained smoke alarms will provide an early warning alarm to your household. This alarm could save your own life and those of your loved ones by providing the chance to escape. This year, the spring time changed Sunday, March, did you change your alarm battery?

There are many different brands of smoke alarms available on the market but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.

Ionization alarms sound more quickly when a flaming, fast moving fire occurs. Photoelectric alarms are quicker at sensing smoldering, smoky fires. There are also smoke alarms that combine ionization and photoelectric into one, called dual sensor smoke alarms.

Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different yet potentially fatal fires, and because homeowners cannot predict what type of fire might start in a home, the Hayward Fire department recommends the installation of both ionization and photoelectric or dual sensor smoke alarms.

Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are now required in all new construction. CO is an odorless, colorless gas found in combustion fumes. People that come in contact with these fumes can be poisoned by breathing in the gas. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

In addition to the basic types of alarms, there are alarms made to meet the needs of people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to assist in alerting those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.

So, when you turned your clocks ahead on March 13th, did you make a lifesaving change of the batteries in your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, flashlights, portable radios and other essential devices too? For more information on general preparedness, see our website at: and click on the red "Disaster Preparedness" button.

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