Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend ~ Check medical devices and smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

from Health & Safety

As we prepare to turn our clocks back this Sunday, its a good time to check medical devices, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Medical Devices

Canadians who rely on medical devices or systems with internal clocks should check these devices to ensure they switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time on Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 2:00 a.m.

The start and end dates of Daylight Saving Time were changed in 2007. Medical equipment manufactured prior to 2007 may not function optimally if the equipment has not been updated by manufacturers to compensate for the new dates.

To date, Health Canada has not reported any device malfunctions because of the revised time change that began in 2007. However, examples of medical devices that could be affected by the change include (but are not limited to): implanted pacemakers/defibrillators with sleep modes that can only be adjusted by physicians; Holter monitors, used to continuously record heartbeat; and glucose monitors that store data on glucose levels.

If a medical device displays the incorrect time after 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 6, 2011, users should contact the manufacturer to bring the problem to their attention and consult a health care professional.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

When you change your clocks this weekend, remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.

"Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms save lives by alerting you to a fire or CO buildup. They can't do their job if the batteries aren't working," said Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Protect your family by replacing smoke and CO alarm batteries at least once each year."

In addition to changing batteries every year, CPSC recommends consumers test their alarms monthly. Place smoke alarms on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas, and inside each bedroom. About two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes with either no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that don't work.

Fire departments responded to more than 386,000 residential fires in the U.S. that resulted in nearly 2,400 deaths, more than 12,500 injuries, and $6.92 billion in property losses annually, on average, from 2006 through 2008.

In addition to changing batteries in smoke alarms, CPSC urges consumers to stay in the kitchen while cooking to help prevent fires. Cooking fires accounted for the largest percentage of home fires, an annual average of nearly 150,000 or 38.7 percent, from 2006 through 2008.

CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas. CO alarms should not be installed in attics or basements unless they include a sleeping area. Combination smoke and CO alarms are available to consumers.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that consumers cannot see or smell. An average of 184 unintentional non-fire CO poisoning deaths associated with consumer products, including portable generators, occurred annually from 2005 through 2007.

To protect against CO poisoning, schedule an annual professional inspection of all fuel-burning appliances, including furnaces and chimneys. Home heating systems were associated with 70 deaths, or 38 percent of CO poisoning deaths, in 2007, the largest percentage of non-fire CO poisoning deaths.

Read the full story at Health & Safety Watch