Although there are several different kinds of smoke alarms, all are effective and can be electrically connected, battery-powered or both. Having battery back-up is a smart idea especially if you operate your fireplace during power outages. The alarm should be installed on the ceiling of your home in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Alarms should be installed near all bedrooms and on every storey of a building, including the basement. All alarms should be tested once a month and have their batteries changed at least once a year. Smoke alarms typically require replacement at least every 10 years to ensure they do not become worn out or faulty. Always follow the manufacturer’s manual on upkeep and operation.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms
Carbon monoxide is a clear, colourless, odourless gas that is created as a by-product when carbon-based fuels, including wood, propane and natural gas, are incompletely burned. It can cause severe injury if inhaled in even small amounts, and can be deadly. To ensure the safety of your family, have all fuel-burning appliances inspected by a qualified service professional at least once a year. In addition to proper use and service of your appliances, CO alarms should be installed near all bedrooms and on all storeys of a building. CO alarms should be certified to the CSA/CGA 6.19 or UL 2034 standard.
If a CO alarm ever goes off, always react by leaving the building and calling your local fire department for assistance. Follow the manufacturer’s manual for alarm upkeep and when to buy a new alarm.
Other Things to Consider
Keep a fire extinguisher in your home in case you ever experience a fire. Your extinguisher should be labelled by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, and should be serviced and inspected regularly. It should be stored near an escape route, away from potential fire hazards, and recharged after use.