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Maintaining Your Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector

Every home should be equipped with a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.  In fact, every home should be equipped with more than one.  “Place smoke alarms on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. 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” (The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission).  The installation of these two things can mean the difference between life and death for you and your family.

Smoke, as we all know, is typically an indicator of fire.  Though there may be times the smoke alarm may seem like a nuisance when it goes off while you are preparing dinner, it can end up saving your life.  According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “Half of home fire deaths happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep.” And, “Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.”

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, which makes it impossible to detect without the help of a detector.  Exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

Installing a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector is only the first step, however.  It is important to maintain them, and that means changing the batteries every year. Even smoke alarms that are wired to your home have back up batteries that should be replaced annually. Mark the date on the calendar or set a reminder on your smartphone to help you remember to do this.  The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends changing the batteries each year when we “fall back” during daylight savings.

Certain smoke alarms contain 10 year lithium batteries.  These batteries should not be replaced every year, and in fact, they should not be replaced at all.  Once the 10 years is up, you should simply replace the smoke alarm.

Other things you should do include testing each alarm monthly and replacing them every 10 years (7-10 years for Carbon Monoxide alarms.)

Making sure your home’s residential heating system and residential electrical system are inspected and well maintained is another way to avoid electrical fires and carbon monoxide in your home.  Contact FLAME for more information!

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