Help prevent and be prepared for potential fires in your condo unit by installing smoke detectors and having a fire extinguisher readily available. Regular maintenance of these devices is critical. Learn more about when to test and change the batteries in your smoke detectors and how to maintain and where to store a fire extinguisher.
- Smoke detectors, no matter what the type, should be tested at least once a month
- Batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year
There are two main types of smoke detectors, according to the U.S. Fire Administration:
Battery-powered: This type can be susceptible to defective or worn-out batteries. Monthly testing is critical. Never put old batteries into your smoke detectors and fire alarms.
Hardwired: These detectors are powered by your home’s electrical system, but they usually have backup batteries so the device can remain operational in a power outage. Hardwired smoke detectors still require monthly testing to help ensure that both batteries and parts are functioning properly.
Some detectors are considered “10 year” detectors and no batteries are used. If the detector is 10 years or older and no batteries are present, this detector should be replaced with a new one. When installing a new smoke detector, write the install date on the device so you know when it was installed.
Review the user manual if you encounter any of these problems with your smoke detector:
- The detector often gives false alarms.
- The alarm emits short beeps regularly without anyone touching it.
- Frequent kitchen smoke has caused it to activate often, which may wear it out faster.
A combination “ABC” dry chemical extinguisher can be used on more than one type of fire, and is a good choice for home use. Fire extinguishers are sold by many retailers.
If you already own a fire extinguisher, some extinguishers are single-use only. Make sure you know which one you have.
Rechargeable fire extinguishers DO HAVE an expiration date – be sure to check the date. Check the gauge to make sure that the extinguisher is pressurized. If the gauge reads “empty” it will need to be replaced or recharged.
United Fire Protection in Orlando, FL services and recharges fire extinguishers.
Make sure that the extinguisher is accessible and not stored near the stove/oven. It should be quickly and easily located.
Source: U.S. Fire Administration