[imageeffect type="shadowreflect" style="margin: 0px 20px" width="220" height="175" align="right" shadow="shadow-small" alt="" url="http://www.midstins.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/jimblog.jpg" ]
On March 11 at 2 a.m., Daylight Savings Time officially begins. As we 'spring forward' we'll all lose an hour of sleep, but we'll gain an extra hour of early evening daylight.
When we change our clocks in the spring and fall, let's also get in the habit of checking our smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. During the past several months, there have been several stories in the news of people who escaped from their burning homes because a smoke alarm alerted them to the fire. And there have also been a couple of tragic stories of people who died in fires in homes that did not have working smoke alarms.
Smoke alarms have been required in Massachusetts for decades, but new regulations were put in place in 2010. Some of these have to do with types of detectors and their location. This is especially relevant for anyone planning to sell a home in Massachusetts. Homes sold here must be inspected by the local fire department to be sure they have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Carbon monoxide detectors are also required on every level of a home. This includes all single family homes, multi-unit buildings, apartments, condos, and townhouses that use oil, gas, wood, coal, or other fossil fuels. This law - known as Nicole's law in memory of a seven-year old girl who died when a snowdrift blocked a heating vent and cuased a lethal level of odorless carbon monoxide to build up in her home - has been in effect since 2006.
You can get more information on smoke and carbon monoxide detector requirements by visiting the website of Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety at www.mass.gov/eopss.
Changing our clocks can serve as a reminder not only to check the batteries in our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but also in our flashlights, portable radios, and other things we'd need in case of a power outage or another type of emergency.
And finally, if one of these alarms should go off, be sure that you and everyone in your household get out immediately. Your safety is your top priority. And at Mid-State Insurance, it's also ours.