Fire chief: Check your smoke, CO detectors this weekend

Smoke detector

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — This weekend marks the end of daylight saving time, meaning our clocks will be set back one hour.

Turning the clocks back usually makes us think about things like earlier sunsets and the coming of winter, but firefighters want you to be thinking about something else: making sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

The devices are critical to protecting your life and property.

“That’s why we have legislation, and the fire code that we have in Rhode Island is for early notification,” said East Providence Fire Chief Oscar Elmasian.

While it’s crucial to check the batteries, it’s just as important to make sure the detectors are not too old.

“This is something that we overlook,” added Elmasian. “Smoke detectors are good for 10 years, carbon monoxide detectors are good for five years.”

If you’re not sure how old your devices are, Elmasian said there may be a sticker with a date on the back.

“If there is no sticker, and someone has lived in the house and has no knowledge of when it was installed, I would take that down and replace it,” the chief recommended.

Fire and Carbon Monoxide Safety Guide »
Fire and Carbon Monoxide Safety Guide »

It’s also crucial to check where the devices are located. For exampled, a smoke detector should be placed at a safe distance away from an overhead ceiling fan.

“If it’s a 5-foot paddle fan, it should be an additional 3 feet beyond the outside of the paddle,” Elmasian explained.

Elmasian also said it’s important to clean out the detectors, since dirt or dust may interfere in the function. Also, if you take the smoke alarm down during a non-emergency such as cooking, be sure to put them back into place.