Keep Your Family Safe with These Smoke & CO Detector Tips
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are necessary for keeping families safe from potential and imminent threats. Unfortunately, detectors are often out of sight, out of mind because no one thinks a fire or CO poisoning will happen to them. Most fires happen during the night or in the early morning, while people are asleep. Many may even be surprised to learn that more people die by breathing in smoke and toxic fumes, like CO, than by burning. Couple that with the fact that fires can spread in as little as three minutes, and what you get is a complete disaster. Studies indicate that those who had adequate and working smoke and CO detectors in their homes experienced fewer deaths and injuries.
Unlike your possessions, your family cannot be replaced. That is why it’s crucial to install plenty of smoke and CO detectors, and test them often to ensure they’re working properly.
How Many Smoke & CO Detectors Are Needed & Where to Install Them It’s not enough to just have a few detectors installed throughout your home. By law, they’re required to be installed in specific locations. Here’s a breakdown for where you should install your smoke & CO detectors:
- There should be at least one detector on every level of the home.
- There should be smoke alarms in the hallways, outside each bedroom.
- If a floor of your home doesn’t have a bedroom, install a detector in or near living spaces, such as a living room, den, etc.
- Install a detector on the ceiling at the bottom of your staircase.
Note: Smoke detectors should be installed high up on walls or ceilings. This is because smoke and gases rise. For wall-mounted detectors, place them at least 10 to 30 cm down from the ceiling. For ceiling-mounted detectors, place them at least 10 cm away from the closest wall. If you have a pitched ceiling, install the detector near the highest point of the ceiling.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- CO detectors must be installed in homes that have a fuel burning appliance, or share a common wall/floor/ceiling with a storage garage. Examples include: a furnace, water heater, fireplace, gas appliance or an attached garage.
- There should be a CO detector in or within 5 m of each bedroom.
- These detectors must be interconnected, meaning when one goes off, the others follow suit.
Caring for Your Detectors
Because smoke and CO detectors exist for your protection, it’s important to regularly care for them. These devices aren’t meant to be installed and then left alone. Here’s how you can take care of your detectors so that they in turn can take care of you:
- Replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Test your detectors once a month to make sure they’re working properly. Your device will have a “test” button that you can press.
- Replace your detector after 10 years. If it’s not quite 10 years old yet but it’s not working properly, replace it right then.
- If you’re a tenant, it’s your responsibility to regularly test your detectors and change the batteries. If your detector isn’t working properly, contact your landlord as soon as possible.
What to Do When Your Detectors Go Off
Don’t wait until an emergency happens to make an escape plan. Make one now so that if the time comes where you need to evacuate, everyone knows what to do. While drawing up your plan, make sure that each room has at least two ways to get out. Pick a spot that’s a safe distance away from your home, where everyone can meet after they’ve gotten out. Adequately prepare by practicing your escape plan a few times a year. This will help to ensure your plan is efficient.
In situations like these, it’s impossible to be over prepared. If you want to make sure your detectors are in good working order or if you need to install more detectors, call a licensed electrician. We at 24/7 Electric can help you with all your smoke and CO detector needs. Schedule your appointment with us today!