The time is almost here again…Daylight Savings Time is coming to an end and with that comes the time to swap out the batteries and clean your smoke detectors.
Honestly, I haven’t always been one to follow that rule, and I’m guessing most people don’t. However, just a couple of months ago my smoke detectors started giving me a little grief. And it was never at 6:00 P.M. at night…it was at 2:00 A.M. when my entire family was in deep sleep. Nothing is more stressful than waking up to the sound of nine smoke detectors that are all connected going off in your home. They would simply beat two or three times then stop. Just long enough to wake me and my light-sleeping child up. After thorough searching of the house we figured it was a fluke and returned everyone to their beds. But it took a while, still worried why the detector went off. The next night it happened again. So we followed the same procedure as the previous night. At that point we thought long and hard about the last time we had changed the batteries and decided it far exceeded the six month rule. I went around the house and changed all the batteries the very next day. I thought we were good to go, until about a week later when we got the 2:00 A.M. wake-up call again. I walked around the house and confirmed I had not missed a single detector. A little perplexed, I spoke to the fire department here at the City of Cartersville and asked for advice, at which point I was told to go around to each detector and use canned air or a vacuum to clean in and around each one. Evidently, due to how some detectors work, dust or bugs can trick the detector, making it think it is smoke and set them off. That evening my husband went around the house and cleaned each one. Upon opening the detector in the garage, a whole collection of dry dead bugs fell out. We quickly realized where our problem was coming from. As a result, we learned the importance of smoke detector maintenance.
Smoke alarms are a very important means of preventing home fire fatalities by providing an early warning signal so you and your family can escape. They are one of the best safety devices you can buy and install to protect yourself, your family, and your home. You can prevent tragedies simply by testing and maintaining your smoke alarms and practicing a fire escape plan. All smoke alarms in your house should be tested once a month and their batteries replaced at least annually or as indicated by the manufacturer’s instructions. It is important that you make sure smoke alarms are on every level of your home, outside sleeping areas, and inside bedrooms. Also, replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old; combination alarms may need replaced every 7 years. Most importantly, develop and practice a home fire escape plan on a regular basis.
Free smoke alarms are available to city residents who cannot afford them. Contact the Cartersville Fire Prevention Division Monday through Friday 8:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M at (770) 387-5636.