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Spring forward to a safer home

Photo caption: All smoke alarms must be replaced every 10 years whether hardwired or battery powered

(NC)— Every spring safety officials urge us to change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when we change our clocks to Daylight Saving Time. We depend on them for early warning of fire and exposure to the deadly gas, so it's important that alarms are working at all times.

But there is one more step that homeowners need to take to ensure that their family is truly protected: Check the age of those alarms and replace any that are past their prime.

“Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms stand guard 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says Carol Heller of Kidde Canada, the country's leading home fire safety company. “So it makes sense that eventually they need to be replaced.”

But how often? Fire safety organizations across North America say that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years and carbon monoxide alarms every seven to 10 years, depending on the brand. Experts stress that checking the age of your alarms before you install fresh batteries is essential, because you don't want to put new batteries into outdated alarms. Heller adds, “It is also important to know that all alarms need replacing, whether they are battery powered or hardwired.”

Consider these additional safety reminders:

1. Install smoke alarms on every storey of your home and inside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed.

2. Never take down an alarm or remove its batteries because of a nuisance alarm caused by cooking. Instead, install a photoelectric smoke alarm near the kitchen as they dramatically reduce false alarms.

3. If you have gas devices or appliances, a wood or gas fireplace, or an attached garage or carport you need to install at least one CSA-approved carbon monoxide alarm. The best location is near bedrooms – never install in a furnace room. CO alarms with continuous displays are most popular as they warn you before harmful levels are reached.

More ways to keep your family safe can be found online at

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