CHECKLIST – Fire Safety Deeper Dive: Smoke Alarms & Sprinklers

For our final blog post during Fire Safety Month, we wanted to build on our previous post where we shared our Checklist to Keep Your Home and Family Safe from Fire.

There are two items in particular that we wanted to do a deeper dive on: smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers.

These are two of the most important tools to prevent against fires in your home, so let’s take a look at how to best utilize them to keep your family safe from the dangers of fire.

Smoke Alarms

Unfortunately, a common reason behind deadly fire in homes, whether they are electrical fires, kitchen fires or another type, is a lack of smoke alarms or smoke alarms that don’t work properly.

As a homeowner, it’s up to you to ensure you have enough working alarms in your home and to also make sure they are properly maintained.

Here is an easy-to-follow checklist to make sure your home is protected by smoke alarms:

  1. You should have smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide detector on every floor in your home and especially near bedrooms.
  2. Regularly check the batteries in both, if they are not self-recharging. It is recommended you change batteries when you move the clocks forward and back (spring and fall). Why not start this weekend?
  3. If a member of your household has difficulty hearing, consider purchasing a smoke alarm that produces flashing lights or vibrations, in addition to a loud noise to signal an emergency.
  4. If smoke alarms become dusty or dirty, clean them with a vacuum, duster or cloth.
  5. Test units several times a year to make sure they are still working properly, in keeping with the manufacturer insctructions.
  6. Have smoke alarms replaced every 10 years to ensure they are working properly. CO detectors have a five-year service life.

Home Sprinklers

Another key component to promoting fire safety is in-home sprinkler systems.

You want to do everything you can to prevent a fire from actually occurring, but if you’re faced with one, you’ll want to have the proper equipment in place and properly tested to extinguish any fire as fast and effectively as possible. Studies show that automatic sprinkler systems are the most effective way to protect against the dangers of a fire in the home.

To help keep you and your family safe, we’ve provided another handy checklist for homeowners to guide them in properly maintaining their home sprinkler system.

  1. Make sure your fire sprinklers are properly installed and tested. Detached homeowners and many in town homes are on their own to ensure these systems were correctly installed, operational and are reliable, so they should turn to professional fire sprinkler or safety inspection companies to sign off on their home system, just as multi-residential condo buildings are required by provincial legislation to be annually re-certified.
  2. Sprinklers need to be unobstructed to ensure they will work properly.
  3. Outside of multi-residential condo buildings, sprinklers aren’t necessarily required to be tested annually, or even commissioned once installed, so homeowners need to take it upon themselves to make sure they are reliable.
  4. It is important to make sure the control valves of the sprinkler unit are open at all times. They work to control the water flow, so they need to be left open for the sprinklers to work effectively. A flow test should be done regularly to make sure everything is working properly.

Just because Fire Safety Month is coming to an end next week, it doesn’t mean we will forget about the safety of you and your family when it comes to protecting your home from the dangers of fire (or any other safety issues). We work year-round with our clients to make sure their home is as safe as possible, whether it’s from fire or other potential hazards.

Could your home benefit from a Safety Check?

If you have any questions regarding home safety or any other home or building concerns, please contact us at Duxbury & Associates and we can help put your mind at ease.

About Glenn Duxbury

Duxbury & Associates Building Inspection and Consulting Ltd. has received the 2004 Douglas College Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the ‘Consulting’ category for persistence and pursuit of excellent service delivery to clients by providing very thorough and professional Inspection Reports and dedication to those involved in buying / selling / building / renovating and maintaining uncompromised customer focus.