When you change the clocks, check the smoke alarm too Print Article Font Size
smoke-315874.jpgIt’s nearly the time of year when we change our clocks and Town of Golden Fire Chief Dave Balding suggests that it’s also a perfect time to check your smoke alarm.

In fact, Balding says it’s a good idea to check your smoke alarm and change the batteries twice a year as daylight savings time begins and ends.

“Fire alarms are Golden Fire Rescue’s primary line of defence when it comes to getting people up and out of their homes during a fire,” says Golden’s Fire Chief, Dave Balding.

To ensure the effectiveness of your fire alarm, Balding suggests also vacuuming the device with a soft brush when changing the battery.

It is important to remember that smoke alarms expire and should be replaced every 10 years to keep families safe.

“Smoke alarms must be replaced every 10 years – they don’t last forever. After the 10 year mark, they lose their effectiveness and sensitivity,” says Balding. “To find out how old your smoke alarm is, take it off the ceiling and look at the date on the back.”

When selecting a smoke alarm, Balding says there are a few different options to choose from. Notably, there are now smoke alarms available with sealed batteries that last 10 years – the life of the alarm.

Balding says that if possible, people should also have a detector for carbon monoxide in their homes. The deadly, colourless and odourless gas - created from combustion – can be generated by furnaces, wood stoves and car exhaust. Carbon monoxide detectors can also be integrated with a smoke alarm.

 “Working smoke alarms save lives, reduce injuries and minimize property loss. Install, test, and if necessary, replace yours,” says Balding.

Preparedness is another aspect of helping emergency responders whether it is ensuring your house number is clearly visible or by participating in the local LIFE Kit program.

“While you are checking your smoke alarm, you can also ensure that your LIFE Kit is up to date,” says Balding. “This valuable kit contains the PreparedBC’s household preparedness guide, and forms that residents can fill out with information regarding their doctor, medical conditions allergies and next of kin. It is kept in a designated location so that first responders can find the information when a person can not reliably provide it themselves. This is a great initiative being spearheaded by the Age Friendly Committee, the Rotary Club of Golden, Golden Medical Clinic, Ambulance Paramedics of Golden Association and Golden Secondary School students.”

LIFE Kits can be found at the Golden Seniors Centre, Golden Family Centre, Off the Wall, the Golden Star and at the BC Ambulance Service location in Golden.