One of the most lifesaving electronic devices lie in most every home in America, and no it is not your cellphone. Most people forget about their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms until the battery runs out even then some will simply remove the battery to stop the incessant beeping.

These little gadgets though are what can save lives. Failing to replace batteries can lead to property damage, serious injuries, and even death.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on average of 362,300 unintentional residential fires were reported each year between 2009 and 2011. These fires resulted in more than 12,000 injuries and 2,200 deaths as well as more than $6 billion in property damage.

The CPSC also notes that three out of five fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Changing the batteries of a smoke alarm is no different than changing the batteries in any other electronic device. Find out what batteries your alarms take and be sure to keep some handy to change them as needed.

According to a U.S Census Bureau American Housing Survey, in 2011, only three out of four homes reported changing the batteries in their smoke alarms in the last 6 months. At minimum, batteries should be replaced once a year.

Along with smoke alarms, residents should also be sure they have carbon monoxide alarms in their homes. Between 2007 and 2009 there were more than 150 deaths linked to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed on every level of a home and outside sleeping alarms. Unfortunately carbon monoxide cannot be seen or smelled which is why it is often called an “invisible killer”. Batteries in these alarms should be changed once a year as well.

As the holiday season nears and Americans bring family members and loved ones into their homes it is important to check smoke and CO alarms as it could prevent illness and even death.