You may not realize it, but your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are two of your home’s most important safety devices. These detectors protect you and your family from the dangers of fire and the symptoms of CO poisoning. Here’s what you need to know about CO and smoke detectors in the home: where to install them, how to maintain them, and what to do if they go off.
Home Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), smoke detectors reduce the risk of injury or death from a home fire. Don’t let your family become a statistic. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, and inside and outside each bedroom. For optimal protection, choose interconnected alarms so if one sounds, they all sound. Be sure to test your alarms monthly by pressing the button to verify the alarm will sound.
Most importantly, never disable a smoke alarm – not even temporarily during cooking or showering. Don’t remove the batteries from a device except when replacing them with fresh ones. If your smoke alarm goes off, take the warning seriously and evacuate immediately.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas that can be deadly at high levels. That’s why having CO detectors in your home is critical for your well-being. The NFPA recommends installing a CO detector on each floor of your home and near sleeping areas. As with smoke alarms, test your CO detectors monthly and never disable them; if your device goes off, leave the home and call 911.
Maintaining Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
To keep your detectors in peak condition, vacuum them regularly using the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Replace the batteries twice a year. Daylight Saving Time changes in the spring and fall are great reminders to install new batteries. Replace the entire unit every six to 10 years. Some detectors have expiration dates, so check your devices and replace them as needed. And finally, never paint over either type of detector; doing so can impede its ability to function correctly.
A working smoke alarm increases your chances of surviving a home fire by providing an early warning. Carbon monoxide detectors can save your life if there’s a gas leak in your home. These devices are inexpensive and easy to install. Make sure your home is equipped with detectors to feel peace of mind that your family is safe.