Credit: First Alert

Consider this dangerous, but common scenario€”a homeowner deactivates a sounding smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) alarm and leaves the device disabled, opening up the household to a high-risk potential for undetected hazards. According to the Canadian National Fire Information Database, 80 per cent of fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms, often due to missing batteries or expired alarms. Fortunately, enhanced safety technology and tried-and-true safety practices can help keep homes and families safer from the threats of smoke, fire and CO.

Be safe, replace. Alarms are on duty 24/7 and do not last forever. Smoke alarms need to be replaced at least every 10 years, while typical CO alarms should be replaced after five to seven years. €œIf you don't know when you installed your alarms, chances are, It's time to replace them,€ says Ashley Gocken, brand and PR manager for First Alert, the most trusted brand in fire safety. €œInstalling new ones helps ensure you are protected with enhanced sensing technologies and safety features.€

Go for a 10. One of the greatest advancements in alarm technology has been the development of 10-year battery alarms, which are equipped with sealed batteries that power the unit for a decade without need for battery replacement. They also eliminate the risk of having an alarm deactivated due to battery removal.

don't forget CO. An odourless and colourless gas, carbon monoxide is produced by fuel-burning devices. CO is responsible for more than 300 deaths annually and is the number one cause of accidental poisonings. Yet, more than one-third of Canadian homes don't have a CO alarm, according to a First Alert survey. Equip your home with working CO alarms in order to detect this deadly gas.

Cover your bases. Even if you have smoke and CO alarms, you and your family may not be sufficiently protected if you don't have enough devices. To ensure the highest level of protection, install alarms in or near every bedroom and on every level of a home, including the basement.

€œOnce enough alarms are installed, be sure to properly maintain them,€ Gocken says. €œTest your alarms regularly and, if you haven€™t upgraded to 10-year battery alarms, replace batteries every six months. But remember, 10-year alarms still need to be tested.€

Get kid-friendly. Studies show that children age six to 10 are awakened more readily by voice rather than a beeping alarm. The First Alert 10-Year Battery Smoke and CO Alarm with Voice and Location technology uses a loud, pre-recorded human voice to alert residents in case of smoke or unhealthy levels of CO and also its specific location. This feature helps save time so you can determine the fastest and safest ways out of your home.

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