While this period of the year may conjure many reminders – like the fact that you gain an hour of sleep, along with often arriving to and leaving from work when it’s dark out – the Insurance Bureau of Canada says that it should also prompt you to check your carbon monoxide and fire alarms.
“As Daylight Savings Time ends, making the time to create a safety checklist that includes reminders like replacing batteries in your CO and smoke detectors, is a wise investment that will help keep families safe at a minimal cost,” said Adams.
Each year in Canada, a substantial number of home insurance claims are filed due to fires that occur within the home. Fire alarms help guard people against this threat, alerting homeowners that smoke is present so that they can put it out in a prompt fashion.
What’s often less discussed, though, is carbon monoxide. This gas is both odorless and tasteless, so it’s almost impossible to detect without some form of device. This may explain why CO is the leading cause of death among poisonings in North America, according to the Canadian Safety Council. CO detectors help guard against this.
Similar to fire alarms, most CO detectors require batteries in order to function. In a given year, though, battery power can wear down significantly. That’s why home safety experts recommend replacing them once a year, the end of Daylight Saving Time serving as the ideal reminder.
In addition to checking both the fire and CO detectors, IBC offers several other safety recommendations:
- Update your emergency kit. Family dynamics can change in a given year, where young adult children head off to college while small kids grow much taller. As a result, the home emergency kit may need to be updated. Ensure that it has 72-hours worth of food and water so that everyone who’s still at home has the necessary supplies when there’s an impending threat.
- Have furnace serviced. The cold weather season is upon us, meaning that the furnace, coal stove or wood stove will likely get much more use. If it wasn’t taken care of in spring, make sure that all fuel-burning appliances are cleaned by a professional. They should also be sure to check for any leaks that may have formed, as these are the prime ways in which carbon monoxide gets into the house.
- Go over the emergency plan. Every home should have a plan in place where all the tenants of the residence knows what to do and where to go if an evacuation order is issued or people have to abandon their property due to a weather risk. It’s a good idea to run through these scenarios to make sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to do when there’s an urgent situation.
- Check out the chimney. Creosote builds up in chimneys, especially if the primary source of heating in your house is a coal or wood stove. This tar-like substance serves as catalyst for spreading fire. Additionally, it can clog chimneys so that the smoke emanating from fuel-burning sources doesn’t escape the house. This serves as both a breathing and fire hazard. Take some time to examine the chimney. If you’re unsure of whether or not it needs to be cleaned, you may be able to call a professional who will offer a free estimate.