Muskoka fire departments respond to increasing number of false alarms

Posted On Tuesday September 25, 2018

(Muskoka) – Fire departments across Muskoka have been responding to an increased number of false alarms where smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are at the end of their life or have a low battery condition. Alarms will make a “chirping” sound usually once every 15 to 30 seconds when the battery is low or the alarm has reached the end of its life. Knowing the sounds that your smoke or carbon monoxide alarms make will ensure that you respond accordingly.

The Muskoka Fire Prevention Officersare urging residents to consult the instruction manual for their particular alarm and know the different signals that their device makes. Testing your alarms monthly will help you become familiar with the sounds your alarm makes and will ensure that your device is ready to alert you to a true emergency.

Some of the same factors that cause unwanted alarms can also cause intermittent alarms: 

1. Dust. Alarms can collect dustthat affect their operation. Vacuum and dust your alarms regularly.

2. Improper locations. Install alarms in locations recommended by the manufacturer. Avoid areas:

  • Near bathroom doors where shower steam could affect their operation
  • Surrounding heating vents or returns that can contribute to dust collection in the units
  • Within 5 feet away of fuel burning appliances or their vents

3. Battery failure. Change the batteries when you change your clocks.

4. Unfamiliarity with the device operation and the signals they make. Read and understand all the manufacturer's instructions/specifications.

5. Alarms don’t last forever. Replace the device when it reaches 7-10 years old or as the manufacturer recommends. 

The Muskoka Fire Prevention Officers urge residents to always react when an alarm activates. Gravenhurst Fire Prevention Officer Breyan Sinnott states, “Know the signals your unit makes and respond accordingly. Whether a low battery signal, a malfunctioning unit or a true alarm: Your life depends on your actions. When your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm is in continuous alarm, not intermittent beeping, it is an emergency and you should evacuate and call 911 for the fire department to respond.” 

For more information, contact:

Douglas Holland, Fire Prevention Officer, Muskoka Lakes Fire Department | or 705-765-3156 x282

Mike Vadlja, Fire Prevention Officer, Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department | or 705-789-5201 x3604

Mike Peake, Fire Prevention Officer, Bracebridge Fire Department | or 705-645-8258 x203

Breyan Sinnott, Fire Prevention Officer, Gravenhurst Fire Department | or 705-687-3414 x223

Chad Dowell, Deputy Fire Chief, Georgian Bay Fire Department | or 800-567-0187 x255



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