With clocks now rolled forward one hour as of 3:00 a.m. last Sunday, residents are being reminded to ensure that their houses are operating at the highest level of fire safety.
St. Catharines Fire Services is reminding homeowners that with the changing of the clocks they should be taking time to test their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.
“Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are proven to save lives, but only if they are in working order,” said Jeff McCormick, fire chief for the City of St. Catharines. “The changing of the clocks is a perfect reminder for residents to test alarms and replace their batteries. This simple process will ensure that in the event of a fire, these devices work properly to notify residents of a problem and provide valuable time to evacuate the building and implement their home-escape plan.”
Residents can ensure their alarms work properly by replacing the batteries every six months when the clocks change and testing them once a month. Testing should also include hard-wired electric smoke alarms. Homeowners should always ensure replacement batteries are the type recommended by the manufacturer. For rental properties, owners are responsible to ensure alarms are installed and working properly. Tenants identifying any concerns with their smoke alarms or CO alarms should notify their landlord immediately for repair or replacement as applicable.
Testing smoke detectors is a fairly straightforward process. Residents who will be testing their smoke and CO alarms can simply find the test button on the front or side of the unit depending on the manufacturer. After locating the button, simply push and hold it for a few seconds to ensure the alarm sounds. If the alarm does not sound, the batteries will probably need to be replaced, however it can also be beneficial to have an electrician check the wiring in the detector.
The Ontario Fire Code requires working smoke alarms on every storey of a home and outside all sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide alarms are required outside sleeping areas in homes containing a wood-burning fireplace, fuel-burning appliances such as gas furnaces, gas stoves, gas water heaters or an attached storage garage.
Old batteries should not be thrown out in the trash. Instead, they can be dropped off in the bin located outside the Market Square entrance to St. Catharines City Hall or a Niagara Region household hazardous waste drop-off depot.
While testing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms is one way to ensure home safety there is more that residents can do. To learn more about alarms, home escape plans, emergency preparedness and a variety of home-safety tips visit www.stcatharines.ca/Fire.