If you’re expecting your first child, chances are you’re already looking to make your home as safe as possible. Fortunately, it’s easy to take control of your household safety, and one of the best tips is to test your smoke alarms twice a year without fail. Here are four simple steps to help you do that.
Quick TipInstalling door locks that are placed towards the top of the doors will keep them out of reach of a curious child.
Warn Family Members
It is important to avoid undue alarm during the test. Make sure sensitive family members, such as babies, toddlers or pets are removed from the area to avoid upsetting them with the piercing noise.
Start the Test
For the sake of safety, all smoke alarms are similarly built. All smoke alarms feature a test button, so all you need to do to begin the test is press and hold this button. Typically, the smoke alarm will sound within five seconds. If it doesn’t, check the batteries and replace them. If it has been more than six months since they were last changed, you should change them, even if the alarm seems to be at full strength.
Test Remote Rooms
Even if a smoke alarm works perfectly, it won’t do you any good if you can’t hear it in the farthest reaches of the house. Have a second adult confirm that the sound reaches remote rooms clearly and that it is loud enough to wake everyone up at night.
Use Imitation Smoke
If you routinely set off your smoke alarms due to cooking, good for you! You will know your alarms adequately respond to real smoke. If you don’t specialize in smoky cuisine, however, use a smoke detector test spray available at any hardware store to test the smoke alarm. The smoke alarm may take a few minutes to kick into action during this test, so be patient. If it takes more than five minutes, try replacing the batteries or purchase and install a new fire alarm.
Make a Plan
In addition to ensuring that your smoke alarms are properly installed and functioning well, it is important to assemble a fire preparedness plan with other members of the household. Agree upon a meeting location at least fifty feet from the home and discuss escape routes from each room in the house. When children are old enough, go over the plan and various fire safety tips with them in a fun and engaging way.