Smoke Detectors and Fire Safety

It seems like every day heart wrenching natural disasters dominate the headlines and nightly newscasts.

The reality however, paints a different picture.  Many fatalities and tragedies are man-made, and many are preventable.   Household fires cause 20 times more fatalities worldwide than all natural disasters combined!

Fire departments continue to work to raise awareness about where and how fires start. Statistically speaking, kitchens and bedrooms are most prone for a fire to start. Other high risks are clothes dryer vents with lint build up, candles, and wood burning fireplaces.

It has become tradition to raise awareness twice a year around fire safety.  Every time we change our clocks, from or to daylight savings time, we need to take a few minutes to go through a fire safety checklist.

Make sure that smoke detectors are installed on every storey of your home. (in many jurisdictions it’s the law) If you sleep with bedroom doors closed, you should have a smoke detector inside your bedrooms. Note that young children are notoriously deep sleepers, they won’t hear a smoke detector on a different level, especially with doors closed and other white noise present.

Replace batteries in all your detectors when you change your clocks. Use high quality, fresh, alkaline batteries, this is not the time to save with cheap dollar store batteries.

Smoke detectors should be replaced at least once every ten years. They are not expensive so err on the side of caution. It is also recommended to clean detectors by vacuuming for dust periodically.

Smoke detector technology has improved in the past few years.  You can now buy dual powered  detectors that rely on both house power and batteries, and detectors can be set to trigger each other, if 1 detector senses smoke, all linked smoke detectors will go into alarm.

Avoid detectors that require battery removal to quiet them for false alarms. Choose a detector with a hush button instead.  A detector can’t alert you if it doesn’t have any power!

The bottom line is that working smoke detectors save lives.   Daylight savings time is the 2nd Sunday in March.  Let’s make a commitment to take a few minutes to be Fire Safe.