Ever been annoyed out of a sound sleep by the impetuous chirping of the smoke or carbon monoxide alarm? It's a maddening intrusion, often meaning the battery needs to be replaced.
On your things-to-do list before winter sets in: check all battery-operated smoke alarms by pressing the little button on the alarm casing. Keeping fresh batteries on hand is a prudent measure. Lithium batteries have a longer life than the more common 9-volt type and, although more expensive, worthwhile. When in doubt about how to change a battery in both types of alarms check out smoke alarms on the Internet for a demonstration on how to replace correctly. Call your electrician if you have problems with hard-wired alarms.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recom-mends checking smoke detectors monthly and replacing them every 10 years. According to NFPA, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths were from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.