The following maintenance is recommended by Fire and Rescue NSW: Smoke alarms should be checked (by pushing the test button) once a month to ensure that the battery and alarm function properly. A vacuum cleaner should be used to clean smoke alarms every six months. Dispose of batteries in an appropriate container as soon as they have been used.
In addition, select fire alarms should be tested regularly with a fire alarm testing device. These devices can be purchased at fire stations or distribution centers.
Testing your fire alarm system is easy to do. First, turn off the power to the location where the alarm functions. Next, check the alarm's ability to sound the station bell or other audible signal. If it does not, see page 3 for information on correcting this problem. Finally, test all smoke detectors in the same manner as the selection process described above. The battery should be replaced annually regardless of use.
Fire alarms provide an important defense against fire. They alert people inside a building that there is a fire, which allows them enough time to escape before actual fire damage occurs. Properly maintained fire alarms can remain effective for several years if they are tested regularly. However, fire departments need help maintaining their equipment so they can continue to protect buildings across the state. For this reason, Fire and Rescue NSW provides funding for eligible fire departments to purchase new fire protection equipment.
It is advised that you test your alarms at least once a month to confirm that they are operational. If your smoke detectors are powered by a nine-volt battery, the battery should be replaced every six months, and the detector itself should be replaced every ten years. The manufacturer of your alarm may have additional recommendations for how often you should check your detectors.
Smoke detectors should not cause any trouble if they are working properly. If you notice any malfunction with your smoke detector, such as no sound or flashing lights, get help from a professional right away. A functioning smoke detector can save lives by alerting you to possible fire hazards in your home. If it fails to work, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Smoke detectors need to be maintained to ensure their ongoing reliability. Regular testing and maintenance will help you identify potential problems with your device before those problems lead to serious injury or death. For example: If you don't detect any smoke with one of your detectors, you might want to consider replacing it. The same thing goes for sensors that measure carbon monoxide; if these devices fail to detect this toxic gas, then there is likely a problem.
Regular inspection tours are also important for identifying damage that may not be apparent during a visual examination of your home.
If you have a traditional smoke detector, you should check the batteries every six months, making daylight saving time the ideal biannual reminder. Additionally, smoke alarms should be updated every ten years, and CO alarms should be replaced every five to ten years.
It is important to remember that all batteries lose their charge over time, so even if a battery appears fresh, it may no longer work as well as it did when it was first installed. Batteries for smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors should be purchased together because they use similar technology and standards. You should change both types of batteries at the same time, but only need to do so every other year for lithium ion batteries.
Test the alarm once a month. Batteries should be replaced at least once a year. Every ten years, replace the complete smoke alarm.
The best time to test your smoke detector is when you first get up in the morning. If it doesn't work, check it again before you go to bed.
If you don't have working smoke alarms, let your family know about fire safety rules for homes with children and the elderly. Some families like to sleep with a window open to air out the room. This is okay as long as you remember not to leave any burning materials outside that window or in yard areas where children can reach them. Burning material includes anything that could burn if it catches on fire such as old newspapers, trash, and yard waste.
Make sure everyone in your house knows how to operate the alarm and where it is located. Choose a location that isn't too easy to miss (such as by the bed). Make sure they understand why it's important to check the alarm regularly and call 911 if it doesn't work.
Have an escape plan planned in case of fire. You should know exactly where you would go if there was no other way out of the house. Consider making a list of contacts that would help find you shelter if needed.