The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York is urging all residents to check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure that they are functioning properly.

“Too many homes, either without detectors or mistakenly relying on nonworking smoke alarms, are putting families in avoidable peril,” said Kenneth Pienkowski, FASNY president. “Installing and maintaining smoke alarms in your house is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself from fires. Easy but vital maintenance means checking that batteries are not only inside the alarms but that they are working. Just as important is installing and maintaining CO detectors.”

FASNY urges the public to invest in smoke alarms with sealed-in, nonremoveable batteries capable of powering the device for at least 10 years. Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed a law requiring all smoke alarms sold in the state to be equipped with sealed-in, nonremovable, 10-year batteries, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.

Residents should test detectors at least once a month by using the test button. Check the batteries every six months and change the batteries every year. The unit will usually chirp as a warning if a battery is starting to lose power; do not disable the unit.

Vacuum or blow out any dust that might accumulate in the unit. Never borrow a battery from a detector to use somewhere else, or paint a smoke or CO detector. Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of the house, including the basement, every bedroom and near every sleeping area.

Smoke detectors should not be installed near a window, because drafts could interfere with their operation. Smoke detectors should be completely replaced every 10 years. Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan.

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