Today’s lesson… Be sure you have good smoke AND carbon monoxide alarms!

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Today’s lesson is a weird one.

First, pretty much every house has a smoke alarm.

Second, most of you ignore them or don’t know anything about them.

It’s just one of those ubiquitous items that’s always there, always been there, and you only notice when you’re aggravated by it chirping or screeching at your cooking.

In my house we call it the oven timer. If it goes off, dinner’s done.

For this week’s lesson, I’ll be short and sweet. I’ll tell you why you should check yours, what you should have, and how to do easy maintenance.

Why you should check your alarms…

  • If you already have alarms that your builder installed, they’re probably the cheapest ones available that he could buy in bulk or he bought the cheapest available at Lowe’s that would pass code.
  • If you haven’t heard your alarms go off in awhile, not even the low battery chirp, you should test them.
  • If you don’t know what kind of alarms you have, better find out now.

What should you have for fire alarms…

  • Your alarm should be for both smoke AND carbon monoxide.
  • It should be from a reputable name brand company. This isn’t the place to go cheapest available.
  • You need several, so look for a deal to buy a good one in bulk.
  • The ones at this link HERE are the actual alarms I have in my own home and office. It’s from First Alert. Kidde is another reputable brand.

What maintenance is required…

  • Replace the batteries annually or if it ever chirps. Don’t install cheap dollar store batteries either. I like Energizer Max for price and longevity.
  • Vacuum the vent panels at least quarterly. More if needed.
  • Replace the alarm every 10 years, as the sensors can eventually deteriorate.
  • Test the alarm quarterly with smoke or a smoke detector tester. If you press the button and it works, that only confirms that the button works, not the detector.

Be sure to download the one page round up for a Maintenance Schedule.

Where should they be placed…

  • Inside the bedrooms
  • Outside sleeping areas
  • Living rooms
  • Near the stairs
  • In long hallways
  • Kitchen
  • Beside the garage
  • Finished basements or attic spaces

Real Life Case Study: Family of 7 Dies from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Minnesota

In 2021 in Moorhead MN, a family of 7 was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in their home after concerned neighbors called the police.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Victims of CO poisoning often just get drowsy and fall asleep never to wake up again.

The investigation into the deaths revealed that there were two known sources of carbon monoxide- a furnace and a vehicle that was parked in the garage’s home.

Pay attention to this last part…

Detectives located a DETACHED carbon monoxide detector, and a SMOKE-ONLY detector was in its place instead.

The family included the husband and wife in their 30s and children aged 16, 7, and 5. The husband’s uncle age 32 and his niece age 19 also passed away.

This is my core philosophy on preparedness.

Get prepared NOW as best you can with what you have. It’s better than nothing.

Stay simple. Don’t complicate things.

Upgrade and level up as time, money, resources, or training are available. Never stop improving.

Train and practice often. Always think of yourself as an amateur.

Don’t get complacent. Anything can happen anywhere.


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