Smoke detectors may be some of the most important items in your home when it comes to your family’s safety. It is important to remember that a smoke alarm is an inexpensive way to protect your family from fire and smoke, as well as preserving your property investment. These devices can detect fires minutes before a person, and therefore allow your family essential time for escape.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), smoke detectors should be installed in every bedroom and on every level of your home, including the basement. Smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month and should have the batteries replaced at least once a year. Also, you should replace your smoke detectors 10 years from the date of manufacture. Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.
You should check the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper method of testing your smoke detector. But, in general, the USFA states most battery-powered and hardwired smoke detectors can be tested as follows:
Step 1 – Alert your family members that you will be testing the alarm. Smoke detectors have a high-pitched alarm that may frighten small children, so you’ll want to let everyone know you plan to test the alarms to help avoid scaring anyone.
Step 2 – Visually inspect your smoke alarms. Make sure they are not damaged in any way. Also check for dust or other substances that could prevent the smoke detector from working.
Step 3 – Ask a family member to stand at the furthest point away from the alarm in your home. This can be critical to help make sure the alarm can be heard everywhere in your home. You may want to install extra detectors in areas where the alarm’s sound is low, muffled or weak.
Step 4 – Press and hold the test button on the smoke detector. It can take a second to begin, but a loud siren should come from the smoke detector while the button is being pressed. If you cannot hear any sound coming from the smoke alarm when pushing the button, replace your batteries. If it has been more than six months since you last replaced the batteries, change them regardless of the test result.
Electronic devices are not infallible; batteries die, and other parts of the smoke detector can wear out over time. Regular testing can help ensure your family stays safe should there be a fire in your home. If you do experience fire damage in your home, call AAA Restoration. Our talented team is available day or night to help put your home back together again.