Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Be Prepared and Be Safe!

Do you have the proper number of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home to protect your family?  This question became a priority at our home when the carbon monoxide detectors sounded on a Sunday morning.  Wow! Are those things ever loud! After some frazzled nerves, a 911 call and a visit from Toronto’s finest firefighters, we been reminded about the importance of these detectors and learned more about the requirements.
How many smoke detectors do you need and where should they be placed?  Smoke detectors sense smoke from typically a fire.  Ionization sensing smoke detectors will even detect smolders from the beginning of a fire.  We have even had a smoke detector detect a leak in our roof but that is another story entirely! 

Every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. As smoke rises, smoke detectors should be installed on the ceiling or, if necessary with a slopped ceiling, on the top 1 foot of the wall.  Also, avoiding installing smoke detectors near the kitchen or bathroom where smoke or steam can trigger a false alarm. Are you all set from a smoke detector perspective?

How many carbon monoxide detectors do you need and where should they be placed? A carbon monoxide detector is a device that detects carbon monoxide gas in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  Carbon monoxide is a colourless, tasteless and odorless gas.  Carbon monoxide exposure at certain levels and lengths can lead to deadly poisoning.  Initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches and stomach sickness. As you sleep, you would not be aware of these symptoms. It is known as the “silent killer” as it is undetectable without technology.  Consequently, it is important to have fully functioning detectors installed.
In Ontario, carbon monoxide detectors must be installed outside bedrooms on each level where you sleep.  Having one carbon monoxide detector in a furnace room is not sufficient to wake people in the night.  Is your household protected from the “silent killer”?

Once you have your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed, how do you maintain them?  There are five key steps to maintaining your detectors:
  1. Test the units and know how they work. 
  2. Replace the batteries at least once a year, less frequently for lithium batteries than can last the lifetime of the alarm.
  3. Replace units every 10 years, sooner if it isn’t working. 
  4. Regularly dust or vacuum the units. 
  5. Keep the unit free of paint, stickers, or other decorations that may prevent it from working properly.

What do you do should an alarm sound?
First, have a fire escape plan that you practice.  Identify two ways out of each room and an outdoor meeting point away from the home. In the case of a fire, once you are out of the house, call 911. For carbon monoxide alarms, if you are not feeling ill first check the battery.  If you are feeling ill and the battery is fine, leave the home and from your meeting point, call 911.  Although you want to avoid false alarms, do not hesitate to contact emergency services. Better safe than sorry.
Be prepared and Be Safe.
David Gharat

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