Do you replace your smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries twice a year when you turn your clocks ahead and/or back? Yes? Great news!
Do you know that you need to replace your combo unit hardwire smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and/or single unit smoke and fire detectors as well? I do now!
Turns out, the shelf life for these detectors is 6-10 years. I always thought the detectors were "good for life", but it turns out they have an "end of life" that comes complete with a LOUD warning! I first heard the basement detector warning last Saturday as I was heading out the door to visit family.
Captain Chad Absten, Falmouth Fire Rescue Department, came out to my home to check for elevated carbon monoxide readings. While conducting his tests, Captain Absten kindly informed me that the detectors need to be replaced from time to time and showed me where to find the manufacturer's date on the backside of the detector. We discussed the importance of keeping safety equipment in good working order and I told him that I was going to purchase new detectors for the whole home.
I am very grateful to Captain Absten for sharing his professional expertise and goodness with me. Here in Falmouth, residents and visitors are very fortunate to have such excellent, dedicated and hard working firefighters providing extraordinary safety services to the community. It's a very challenging job and they perform their duties and responsibilities brilliantly! Whenever you have the opportunity, be sure to thank our awesome firefighters!
Unbelievably, last night I was awoken at 12:43 A.M. to the sound of yet another hardwire smoke and carbon monoxide detector blasting its "end of life" warning. Talk about loud!
Unfortunately, that detector is located at the top of the second floor stairwell, directly above the second and top step. What a terribly inconvenient location as it's impossible to reach easily and safely. All night long, every 25 seconds, the detector emitted 5 rapid beats indicating that the detector needed to be replaced. Ugh!
With sincere thanks to Ginny and Curtis, this morning Mr. Bill Peck, retired firefighter and current fire safety inspector, came and saved the day! Within an hour, Bill had quieted the unrelenting blasting alarm and installed 3 brand new combo smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and 2 brand new single unit smoke alarms. The units are all hardwired and have a projected shelf life of 10 years with bi-annual battery changes. Silence is golden and so is Bill! If you find yourself in need of alarm assistance/installation or need an inspection for compliance for real estate sales, I highly recommend you give professional and pleasant Bill a call at 508.560.5710 or email him at HEAVYFFRD@aol.com!
You might be wondering what those chirping sounds from the detectors mean. Here's a summary off the back of my First Alert detectors for you ...
Single Unit Smoke Alarm
Single chirp per minute: replace battery
Three beeps, pause, repeating: Alarm Condition/Test Mode
Combo Unit Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Four Beeps: CO Alarm
One "Chirp" Per Minute: Replace Battery
Three "Chirps" Per Minute: Malfunction, Replace Alarm
Five "Chirps" Per Minute: End of Alarm, Replace Alarm
Alarm Maintenance Tips
1. Gently vacuum off any dust that may accumulate on the cover at least once a month using your vacuum's soft brush attachment. Never use water, solvents or cleaners since they may damage the unit.
2. Press the test button after installation, weekly and after cleaning (vacuuming) to check all alarm functions.
The National Fire Prevention Association, www.nfpa.org, has a terrific website filled with all kinds of fire safety information for you and your loved ones. Take a look, get informed, be safe.
Donna LaRoche, M.Ed., Professional Organizer Serving Cape Cod, MetroWest and Eastern Massachusetts Contact: 617.640.2366 www.energizeandorganize.com
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