In the early hours of this coming Sunday, November 4, the nation’s clocks will fall back an hour as we transition from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time.

It’s during the time changes of the fall and spring each year that we at the Chimney Safety Institute of America join with the U.S. Fire Administration and other agencies in calling for a check of your home’s smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to be sure they’re working correctly and to change out batteries in the devices that may be more than a year old.

Beyond calling in a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep to ensure your home’s chimneys are functioning properly, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are essentially your last line of defense against potential tragedy.

Just last week, we blogged about the dangers posed by CO, which is completely undetectable in your home without a working alarm. Should a fire strike in the middle of the night, a smoke detector may be the only thing that alerts you to the danger.

So, take a few short minutes to test your smoke and CO alarms this weekend, a small investment of time that could pay off for the rest of your life.

If you find during your weekend check that a detector is not working properly and the purchase of a new device is in order, here is a link to Consumer Reports that breaks down the types of alarms on the market today.

You also may consider contacting your local fire department, which may sponsor a program to provide detectors at little or no charge to community residents. The U.S. Fire Administration maintains the National Fire Department Database, which has a great tool to help you find your local fire department.