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Maintaining Smoke Detectors

Take a few minutes out of your day to read this short blog on caring for smoke detectors.

Smoke detectors are the first line of defense when it comes to protecting your home from dangerous fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, having a smoke detector in the home decreases the chance of death by fire by 50%. Naturally, it is important to ensure every detector in your home is functioning optimally. Follow this guide to safeguard your family and your home.

Firstly, let’s discuss the placement of smoke detectors around your home. Every floor needs to have an alarm, even the basement. Every bedroom in your house should as well. It is also wise to have one in the hallway outside the bedroom. Additionally, the best place for detectors to be mounted is high up on the wall or on the ceiling, since smoke rises. Having all of the detectors in your home connected to each other means that if there is a fire on one floor, every detector in the home will go off. This makes sure that everyone in the house can hear the alarm and exit safely. It can also be very helpful to have an emergency plan in place so that everyone is aware of all exits and where to rendezvous outside. If your family does not have one of these contingency plans, take 10 minutes to sit down with your loved ones to discuss it. 

Now that you know where to install smoke detectors, it’s time to discuss routine maintenance. Smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month to confirm that they are working properly. Simply press and hold the “Test” button on the device and wait for the beep. If you do not hear anything or the noise is dull, the batteries need to be replaced. Batteries should generally be replaced every 6 months or so just to be safe. If the smoke detector begins making a loud chirping noise every few seconds, its batteries also need to be replaced. Marking the date you changed the batteries somewhere on the smoke detector or in the Notes app on your phone will help keep you organized. The Stony Point Volunteer Fire Department recommends that new smoke detectors be installed every 10 years. 

In addition to smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors are integral for the safety of you and your family. Having an alarm is important because carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is incredibly difficult to detect alone. Luckily, these alarms operate similarly to smoke detectors. They should also be placed on every floor and tested regularly. Unlike smoke, carbon monoxide does not ride, so detectors can be placed anywhere on the wall but should not be installed on the ceiling. Keep in mind that you should never paint over either type of alarm - this can prevent them from working properly.

Remembering to routinely check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can be difficult, especially when you are busy. Even though this maintenance can be seen as a menial task, it is critical in ensuring that all alarms will work when needed. By following these simple tips you can proactively protect everyone in your household.