Time to ‘fall back’ and test, check and change smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

When clocks fall back one hour on November 7 at 2:00 a.m. as Daylight Saving ends, the Hamilton Fire Department is asking residents to test, check and change their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Daylight Saving is also a great reminder to practice household emergency plans and ensure that emergency kits are stocked.

Test the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home to make sure they work.

• Press the button on battery powered or hard-wired alarms; keep it pressed down until you hear a beeping sound.
• If your alarm has no button, it is outdated and should be replaced.
• If you have a 10-year sealed battery-operated alarm, there is no need to change the battery.
• If you test the alarm and it does not work, replace the entire smoke or carbon monoxide alarm immediately to ensure continued protection.
• Every family should have an emergency plan. Test your emergency plan as a household so everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency.

Check the expiry date by looking at the date of manufacture marked on the back of the alarm.
• All smoke alarms have expiry dates, whether they are battery operated or hard-wired.
• Smoke alarms should be replaced at least every 10 years from the date of manufacture, not the date of purchase.
• All carbon monoxide alarms also have expiry dates, which are typically between seven to 10 years.
• Check emergency kits to ensure they are stocked with basic supplies to last for at least 72 hours. Use and replace items before the expiration date. Keep emergency kits in an easy-to-reach location that everyone in the household can access.

Change the batteries or backup batteries – depending on the type of alarm – as needed.
• Batteries in a smoke, carbon monoxide or combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm should be changed every six months.
• Alarms that are hard-wired into your home’s electrical system have backup batteries that should also be changed every six months.
• Change any items in your emergency kit as needed. Key supplies you may need to check and/or replace include medications, personal care items, a 72-hour supply of non-perishable food and water, and batteries.

Quick Facts
• Smoke alarms are required on every storey of the home and outside of all sleeping areas. For added protection, it is recommended to also install smoke alarms inside all bedrooms.
• Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed outside all sleeping areas if your home has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage.
• Tampering with or removing the batteries from your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms is against the law. Failure to comply with the Fire Code can result in a ticket of $360 or a fine of up to $50,000.
• For more information on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, contact the Hamilton Fire Department – Fire Prevention Division at 905 546-2424 ext. 1380, weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or visit hamilton.ca/fire.

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