Practicing fire safety will protect your family, friends, neighbours, and the emergency responders dispatched during fire emergencies. Together we can reduce the number of fires and fire-related tragedies.
Many Canadians believe that their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms last forever, they do not.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) warns consumers that all smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years. Even though an alarm may sound when you push the test button or replace the batteries, an outdated alarm does not provide the level of protection you need. Sensors weaken and can become obstructed over time. Check the age of every alarm in your home. If smoke alarms are over 10 years old, or carbon monoxide alarms are over 5 – 7 years old – replace them immediately.
Smoke alarms, when properly installed, give an early audible warning needed for safe escape from fire. This is critical, given the majority (60% or more) of all fire deaths (structural, outdoor, vehicle) in Alberta occur in the home, and most of these occur at night during sleeping hours.
- Aging smoke alarms don't operate as efficiently and often are the source for nuisance alarms
- Older smoke alarms are estimated to have a 30 per cent probability of failure within the first 10 years
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Depending upon manufacturers, carbon monoxide (CO) alarms need to be replaced every 5-7 years. Called the silent killer, Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas produced by incomplete burning of fuel, such as propane, kerosene, gasoline, oil, natural gas, wood and charcoal. Sources of CO in homes can include malfunctioning gas-fired appliances, space heaters and chimney flues.
Symptoms of CO poisoning include nausea, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, breathing difficulty and confusion - but they are general enough to be confused with the flu. A CO alarm is designed to sound before symptoms would occur in an average adult. Exposure to carbon monoxide can be deadly. You can't see it, smell it or taste it. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that, for the best protection, you install one carbon monoxide alarm on every storey on your home.
Remember too that some CO alarms have batteries in case of power failure in your home - install fresh batteries at least once per year (or when you do your smoke alarms). Consider an alarm with a digital display screen that will show you the CO level in your home. This makes it easier to spot changes in your home's air quality that could indicate a potential problem.
Don't cut corners when it comes to fire and CO protection for your family. Maximize your peace of mind by installing the correct number of approved alarms and detectors.