It’s that time of year! This Sunday, March 10, is time for us to “Spring Forward”, which also means it’s time to change the batteries in all of your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Everyone should test their alarms and detectors once a month, but it is very important to change the batteries once a year. It could save a life according to the Safe Kids Coalition!
In fact, having a working smoke alarm reduces a person's chance of dying in a fire by half.
Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, outside every sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Smoke alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings. Carbon Monoxide detectors should be in homes which use propane or natural gas, and should be placed near or in rooms where gas appliances are located.
Even if your smoke alarms are hardwired, replace the batteries in case of a chirping sound or a power outage. Remember there are high risks of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning when the power goes out and you are using alternative heating/lighting sources (candles, lamps, propane heat, etc.)
Reminder: Smoke alarms and detectors do not last forever! The maximum life span is 8-10 years. After that time, the entire unit should be replaced. If the unit does not respond properly when tested, it should be replaced immediately.
This experience just happened at my house this week. Our carbon monoxide detector started chirping, and didn’t stop even after new batteries were installed. My husband then noticed some messages on the back which told us “this device will beep every 30 seconds without stopping after the device had been installed for 7 years. Replace the unit”. Sure enough, we installed that device not long after we moved into our home seven years ago in February!
Alarms and detectors are a small price to pay for the safety of your family. Don’t forget to properly maintain them so they work correctly. If you are unable to safely check or install your smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detectors, contact your local Fire Department and they are able to provide this service for you. They would rather come see you without their sirens going, I can assure you!!