"This is a good time to change the batteries in our smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms,” said Norwood Fire Department spokesman George Morrice. Making sure smoke and CO alarms are working is a simple, effective way to protect your family."
Working smoke alarms can double your family’s chance of surviving a fire and when combined with a practiced home escape plan, the chances are greater. Many smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in our homes either run on battery power or have a battery back-up in case the power fails. Not all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms use batteries, but many do. Some smoke alarms have a 10-year lithium battery that only needs to be changed once a decade.
When you change the batteries on your home fire safety devices this year, inspect the alarms and check the date of manufacture. All electronic devices have a limited life span, so it is important that you replace your older smoke and carbon monoxide alarms with new ones to protect your family.
Smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years. If your smoke alarm is 10 years old or older, it is time to replace them! Carbon monoxide alarms need to be replaced every five or seven years, depending on the manufacturer. Check for a date of manufacture on the back of the device, or consult the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended replacement date. If you can’t tell how old they are, it’s time to replace them.
Some general rules:
Signs the CO Alarm Needs Replacing
One of the signs that a carbon monoxide alarm has reached the “end of life” stage will be a “chirping” that does not stop until the unit is powered off. For models with a digital read out, it will have an “ERR” or “EO9” or “END” message. Another sign could be if it makes the low battery signal even after brand new batteries are installed. That’s the main reason behind the Beat the
Beat the Beep - Don’t Go Without Protection from the Invisible, Odorless Killer
The purpose of the Beat the Beep campaign is to alert families that their CO alarms may be reaching the end of their lifecycles and should be replaced BEFORE the beeps indicating end of life. This also provides better protection against possible CO poisoning and reduces the number of false alarms to local fire departments and emergency service providers.Types of Smoke Alarms
All homes in Massachusetts are required to have smoke alarms and most are required to have carbon monoxide alarms MGL c.148 s.26F. To see more information on smoke alarm regulations or requirements for selling your home Guide to Massachusetts Smoke and Carbon Monoxide RequirementsWe recommend all smoke detectors installed within 20 feet of kitchens and full bathrooms be photoelectric only detectors. The risk of nuisance alarms from steam and cooking is lower with photoelectric only detectors. We also recommend that smoke detectors installed outside of 20 feet of kitchens and bathrooms utilize both ionization and photoelectric technologies:
•A dual detector (containing both ionization and photoelectric technologies): or
•Two separate detectors (one photoelectric and one ionization).Photoelectric vs. Ionization Technologies
Ionization smoke detectors:
•Use radiation to detect smoke.
•More effective in detecting flaming fires.
•Increased risk of nuisance alarms caused by steam or cooking smoke.Photoelectric smoke detectors:
•Use light to detect smoke.
•More effective in detecting smoldering fires, which have been attributed to more fires involving death.
•Low voltage systems only use photoelectric detectors.General guidelines for smoke alarm placement:
•On every level of your home.
•In hallways outside the bedroom.
•At the top of open stairways.
•At the base of cellar stairs.
•Inside the bedroom for sound sleepers or smokers.Contact your local fire department for exact locations required by the code.
In residences not subject to MGL c. 148, s. 26F (built after January 1975), the smoke detector upgrade is recommended, but is not required by law.Maintenance:
•Once a month vacuum or blow out dust from the alarms.
•Push the test button.
•Smoke alarms use regular batteries; change them at least once a year. An easy way to remember is to change the batteries when you change your clocks. A "chirping" sound indicates that it's time to change the batteries.
•Don't paint smoke alarms!Lifespan: Replace 10-Year Old Smoke Alarms
If your smoke alarms is ten years old or more it's time to replace them with new ones. There's a label on the alarm with the date of manufacture. If it doesn't have a label, it's already more than 10 years old. If you don't know how old they are it's best to install new ones.