Checking your Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential to the health and safety of your home and family. Whether you have battery operated detectors or have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors wired into your home’s circuits, you should test them regularly. Here is some useful information about these detectors that could save your life!
According to the Canada Safety Council, investigations into home fire deaths often find that a smoke alarm did not sound. This could be because it was not in working order, the batteries were dead or it was disconnected from it’s power source.
Unfortunately, many fatal fires start at night when you and your family are sleeping. The fumes from a fire can put you in a deeper sleep and without a working smoke alarm, you might not wake up. Protect your family with these safety tips:
– Some detectors are battery operated, some powered by electricity and some run on both. Have your smoke detector hard-wired into your home’s circuits by Master Electricians. This ensures that if the batteries expire, it is still connected to a power source.
– Make sure you still place batteries in your detectors as a secondary back up, should the power go out.
– Install a smoke detector on every level of you home with one near the kitchen and sleeping areas.
– Schedule to test your alarm once a month and test it by pushing the test button. Once a year, test it with smoke using a smoldering cotton string or incense held near the detector. If it doesn’t sound and your smoke alarm is connected to household circuits, check the fuse and try again. If it still doesn’t work, replace the unit entirely. If you need help with the wiring, call a professional electrician.
– If your detector is battery operated it will usually warn you of low power with intermittent beeping. That means it’s time to change the batteries. Do not use rechargeable batteries because they won’t emit a warning signal. It is still recommended to have your smoke detector hard wired into your household circuits so that it will work even without the battery.
– Replace your smoke detectors at least once every five years to be on the safe side.
– Make sure everyone living in the home knows how the alarm sounds and have a plan for evacuation in case of a fire. Teach your kids how to determine the safest way to exit their room and ensure there are two exits per room. Once you’re out of the home, stay out and call the fire department.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Every home should have a carbon monoxide detector. Fuel-burning appliances like gas furnaces, hot water heaters, fireplaces and woodstoves all produce carbon monoxide. Exposure to leaked carbon monoxide can be extremely hazardous. It is invisible, has no odour or taste and it can poison or even kill you. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath. It is most harmful to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and people who suffer from heart and lung problems.
A carbon monoxide (CO) detector is the best way to protect you and your family. Here are some safety recommendations regarding carbon monoxide detectors:
– Have your CO detectors hard-wired into your household circuits or security system by a certified electrician. This will make sure it operates even if the batteries have died.
– Make sure the CO detector has working batteries installed as a secondary back up. Change them annually as a precaution.
– Install CO detectors where they can be easily heard like outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
– Schedule to test CO alarms at least once a month by using the test button.
– Make sure everyone living in the home knows what the CO alarm sounds like and have an evacuation plan and if should it go off. If it does sound, get outside immediately and call emergency services.
You can reduce the chances of you or your family members getting carbon monoxide poisoning by making sure the maintenance of your furnace, fireplace and other fuel-burning appliances is checked regularly. Your furnace should also be cleaned regularly. Never heat your home with a gas stove and never use a barbeque inside or in an enclosed area. Make sure you and your family know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and if you notice them, get outside immediately.