Fire Safety – Courtesy of the Intact Insurance Home Safety Program
How Many Smoke Alarms Should I Have?
Smoke alarms save lives. Many fatal fires occur at night when people are asleep. It is important to have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home located in the hallway near bedrooms to wake you in case of fire. For maximum protection, you may install smoke alarms in all bedrooms. Sleep with the bedroom doors closed. Doors are the first line of defence between you and the smoke and flames.
Test your smoke alarms every month by pressing the “test” button on the face of the alarm. If your smoke alarm fails the test, replace the battery and repeat. If it continues to fail, replace the alarm with a new one.
Replace your smoke alarm and CO detector batteries once a year on a memorable date such as your birthday or New Years Day. Do not use rechargeable batteries. When a battery is low on power, the alarm with “chirp”. Replace the battery immediately and test the alarm. Replace your smoke alarms and CO detectors according to manufacturers recommendations. Smoke alarms have a maximum lifespan of 10 years regardless if they are hard wired, battery operated or a combination of both. CO detectors have an average lifespan of 5 – 7 years. Over time, the sensor in alarms and detectors diminishes and dependability decreases.
If you have a “nuisance alarm” that goes off frequently with cooking fumes or humidity from the bathroom, do not remove the battery. Rather, move the alarm further away from the kitchen or bathroom. If the problem continues you may wish to change to a different type of alarm. In this case, a photo-electric smoke alarm may meet your needs.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The Alberta Fire Department also encourages everyone to have at least one carbon monoxide detector in their home. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is odourless, colourless, tasteless, non-irritating and if inhaled, CO may cause illness or even death.
The first line of defence in preventing CO poisoning is the proper installation, use, maintenance and inspection of your fuel-burning appliances. The second is the proper use of a CO detector in your home (preferably by the bedrooms) where you will hear it while sleeping. Place detectors at manufacturers recommended location.
Do You Rent?
It is important to have tenant insurance. Your landlord’s insurance will not cover your personal possessions. Contact us for more information on this important coverage.
Plan an Escape Route
To reduce your risk of fire, we encourage you to sit down with your family and develop a home escape plan.
Plan two escape routes for each room. The primary exit is the door, and the secondary exit would be a window that opens easily to accommodate a home escape ladder.
If you leave in a multi-level building, use the stairs, never the elevator in case of fire. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the fire safety plan for your building.
Regardless of the kind of structure you live in, choose a meeting place for all family members outside and at a safe distance.
Practise your home escape plan with your family at least twice per year and make sure every family member knows where the meeting spot is outside of the home.
Remember: Get Out, Stay Out! Once you are out of your home, call 911 from a safe location.
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