Equipment

There are many types of alarms and accessories to keep your family safe. Our Equipment section tells you what you need to know to make smart and safe choices.

 
Old and New Alarm
Time is your ally when it comes to warnings about fire and carbon monoxide emergencies.  That’s why it is essential to have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, as well as accessories such as fire extinguishers and escape ladders.  Working smoke alarms DOUBLE your chances of a safe escape from fire.  Keeping your family safe is a big responsibility.  Take it seriously.

Smoke Alarms

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Homeowners are encouraged to research the latest advances in smoke alarm technology to provide the optimal protection for their families.

  • Smoke Alarms Are Not All The Same!

    Just as different types of fires start, spread and smoke in different ways, so too are there different types of smoke alarms:

    • Ionization smoke alarms respond quickly to fast flaming fires, which generate a lot of heat but not necessarily a lot of smoke. Select an ionization smoke alarm for your home’s living and sleeping areas.
    • Photoelectric smoke alarms respond quickly to smoldering fires that produce a lot of smoke with less heat. These alarms are an excellent choice for near the kitchen area because they are less prone to nuisance alarms caused by cooking (burnt toast) or humidity (shower steam).
    • Always select smoke alarms that feature a “Hush” button, that allows you to temporarily silence an alarm for 7-10 minutes in the event of a nuisance alarm caused by cooking or steam. Once you have determined that a smoke alarm has sounded for a non-emergency, pressing the Hush button will give you time to clear the air while still keeping you protected in case a real fire breaks out.
  • Safety Advances

    There have been many advances in smoke alarm technology that home owners should consider to provide their family with optimal protection.

    • Interconnected Alarms: These battery operated alarms can be installed throughout your home without the need for expensive wiring, and the alarms connect to each other wirelessly so that when one sounds, they all sound. Perfect for multi-storey homes with several sleeping areas.
    • Dual Sensor Alarms: Dual Sensor alarms contain both Ionization and Photoelectric sensors, giving you the protection of both in a single alarm.
    • Combination Alarms: Combination alarms offer the benefit of dual protection from the dangers of both fire and carbon monoxide in a single alarm. The latest models feature a 10-year year lifespan for both CO and smoke sensors, offering over 40% longer life than other combination alarms. Now the entire unit lasts a full decade before replacement is required.
    • 10-Year Lithium Powered Alarms: The latest generation “Worry Free” alarms feature sealed 10-year lithium batteries, that eliminate the need to replace batteries over the entire life of the alarm.  Great peace of mind that that saves money too!
    • Talking Alarms: Some models of combination alarms feature a “talking” feature where a voice sounds out a warning in addition to the alarm itself. So if a fire is sensed, a voice will call out “Fire! Fire!” or if CO is sensed, the voice will shout “Carbon Monoxide! Carbon Monoxide!”  Voice will also call out “Low Battery” when batteries need to be changed.
  • Installation and Maintenance
    • The first step in ensuring effective warning by fire safety equipment is to install it properly.
    • Install at least one smoke alarm on every storey of your home and outside each sleeping area.
    • If you sleep with the doors closed, put a smoke alarm inside each bedroom.
    • Mount smoke alarms on ceilings or high on walls – never low on a wall or on the floor, because smoke rises.
    • On the ceiling, place the alarm at least four inches away from the nearest wall.
    • On the wall, place the alarm at least four inches but no more than 12 inches from the ceiling.
    • Never install a smoke alarm near a window, outside a door or near a duct where drafts might interfere with the alarm’s detection of smoke.
    • Whichever alarms you install inspect, lightly vacuum and test smoke alarms regularly and change the batteries at least once per year.
    • REMEMBER:  replace all smoke alarms over 10 years old and carbon monoxide alarms 7-10 years old (depending upon the brand) whether hardwired or battery operated.  All Kidde smoke and CO alarms are certified for a 10-year lifespan.

CO Alarms

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Except for symptoms that often mimic the flu, a working Carbon Monoxide alarm is the only way to get vital early warning of carbon monoxide.

  • CO and Alarms

    Death from carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable by knowing the potential sources of the deadly gas within your home and installing approved carbon monoxide alarms.

    Carbon monoxide is the number one cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America. Carbon monoxide (CO) is called the “Silent Killer” because it is colourless, tasteless and odourless. It is produced by cars, gas, oil and propane furnaces, wood and gas fireplaces as well as household appliances that run on fossil fuels (wood, gas, oil or coal) such as clothes dryers, ovens and water heaters. You should also install CO alarms if you have an attached garage or carport, as vehicle exhaust can seep indoors if vehicles are left running in cold weather.

    The early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble the flu: symptoms include headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Fever is not a symptom of CO poisoning.

    An important first step in CO poisoning prevention is proper maintenance of your household appliances, heating systems  and chimneys/venting. Always have a certified technician inspect your systems each fall to ensure there are no leaks or other issues that might allow carbon monoxide to seep back into your home.

  • CO Alarm Advances
    • There have been many advances in carbon monoxide alarm technology that homeowners should consider to provide their family with optimal protection.
    • Electrochemical Sensor: Alarms with electrochemical sensors are more stable during humidity and temperature changes and resist reacting to common household chemicals that may cause false readings.
    • End-of-Life Warning: This feature lets you know when it’s time to replace the alarm.   For Kidde CO alarms, that is every 10 years.  For other brands it can be less.  Always check packaging and manufacturer instructions for replacement details.
    • Battery Operated: Families that live in areas prone to power outages, or who run gas-powered generators, should consider a battery-powered carbon monoxide alarm. Battery-powered units ensure continued CO monitoring when power is interrupted. In models with a digital display, a backlight allows you to see readings. Battery CO alarms are also portable, so they can be placed on a shelf or moved from room-to-room.
    • Digital Display: CO alarm models with a digital display screen are very popular because they clearly show any level of CO detected in the home, even before the gas can reach levels that sound the alarm.  Be aware that Kidde’s CO alarms with digital display are continuous, meaning the reading is present and viewable at all times.  Other brands require that a button be pushed on the alarm for a reading to be taken and displayed.
    • Peak-Level Memory: This feature can be important because it records and stores the highest level of CO found to be present. Knowing the CO level registered in a home can help first responders determine appropriate action and emergency personnel determine any required patient treatment.
    • Plug-in with Battery Backup: Easy to plug into any electrical socket, these alarms include a backup battery for protection during short-term power outages.
    • Voice Warning: This  bilingual voice feature clearly announces the threat present in the home, in addition to emitting the traditional alarm siren. It is often a feature of combination smoke/CO alarms where an alarm will sound “Fire! Fire!” or “Carbon Monoxide! Carbon Monoxide! or “Replace Low Battery”.
  • Installation and Maintenance
    • The first step in ensuring effective warning by fire safety equipment is to install it properly.
    • Install a carbon monoxide alarm on each storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas.
    • If you sleep with doors closed, put a CO alarm in each bedroom.
    • Place digital display carbon monoxide alarms where you can easily see the readout.
    • Do NOT install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in garages or directly in furnace rooms.
    • Whichever alarms you install inspect, lightly vacuum and test CO alarms regularly and change the batteries at least once per year.
    • REMEMBER:  replace all smoke alarms over 10 years old and carbon monoxide alarms 7-10 years old (depending upon the brand) whether hardwired or battery operated.  All Kidde smoke and CO alarms are certified for a 10-year lifespan.

Extinguishers

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Fire Extinguishers

For an average home, a multi-purpose ABC-type extinguisher is recommended for every storey, plus an extinguisher (BC type) for the cooking area.

  • Fire and Extinquishers

    All fires need fuel to start and spread and fire extinguishers can sometimes help you control both. But your first response is always to leave the scene of a fire quickly and safely.

    NEVER attempt to fight a fire that is out of control. In situations where fires are small or contained, fire extinguishers may be an option. The types (classes) of fuels that feed fires can vary, and the extinguisher required to put them out varies as well.

    The three major classes of fuel for fires are as follows: A — common combustibles, such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber, trash and plastic B — flammable liquids, such as oil, paints and solvents C — electrical equipment, such as wiring, fuses, appliances and motors

    Fire extinguishers are labeled with the letters A, B and C to let you know the types of fires they extinguish. Do not attempt to put out a fire with an extinguisher that was not designed for that type of fire.

    The average home should have a multi-purpose ABC-type extinguisher on each storey of the home, plus an extinguisher (BC type) for the cooking area. BC-type extinguishers cause less damage to appliances and furniture finishes and are preferred for kitchens.

  • How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

    The easiest way to remember how to use a fire extinguisher to put out a small, contained fire is the PASS method: PPULL the pin on the fire extinguisher AAIM the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire SSQUEEZE the handle on the fire extinguisher SSWEEP the fire extinguisher back and forth repeatedly to cover the base of the fire

    After using a fire extinguisher, clean up the extinguishing agent using a broom, then vacuum and clean the area with soapy solution or ammonia based cleaner, based on the directions provided.

    Remember to check your gauge or “pindicator” regularly, according to the directions provided. Replace or recharge if it does not read “full”.

  • Installation and Maintenance

    The first step in ensuring effective protection by fire safety equipment is to install it properly.

    • Install an ABC-rated fire extinguisher on every storey of your home, with an additional BC-rated extinguisher in the kitchen and garage.
    • Install fire extinguishers securely on the wall using the bracket or hardware provided. Position the extinguisher vertically – i.e. “standing up,” not “lying down.”
    • Ensure the fire extinguisher is within reach in case of a fire – do NOT block it with furniture, appliances or boxes. Also do not store near stove in the kitchen where it may become impossible to access.

The S.M.A.R.T Rule

The S.M.A.R.T Rule

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms do not last forever!

Many Canadians believe that their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms last forever. THEY DO NOT. Learn the S.M.A.R.T Rule – know when it is Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Replacement Time!

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) warns consumers that all smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years, whether battery operated or hardwired, while all carbon monoxide alarms need to be replaced every 7-10 years depending upon the brand.

Special Needs

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Great strides are being made with alarms especially equipped for people with special needs such as sight or hearing loss.

For people with special needs such as sight or hearing loss, alarms can feature verbal warnings, motion warnings (bed shakers), strobe lights or heat alarms. Some people cannot or do not always recognize and respond to the sound of a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm. Talking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms have been developed to provide loud verbal warnings instead of a traditional smoke alarm siren tone. People are warned or awakened by a voice saying, “Fire!” or “Carbon Monoxide!” This voice warning might also be helpful when waking children. Talking alarms also notify homeowners that batteries need replacement by saying, “Low Battery” until a fresh battery is installed.