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From Countryside Fire

posted Sep 13, 2013, 12:19 PM by Brian Donahoe
 department Chief Jeff Steingart,


The United States Fire Administration (USFA) recommends that smoke alarms be replaced after 10 years of use. Like any other electronic product, it can suffer wear and tear. Consider that after 10 years a smoke alarm has worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That is more than 87,000 hours.

Be sure and replace your smoke detector with the proper type. Hard wired (120 volt) smoke alarms must be replaced with 120-volt units. It was probably required by the building code when your home was built. If you are replacing an existing battery operated smoke alarm, consider buying the type that has a silencer button so you don't have to take the battery out if it beeps when dinner is a little crisp.

Illinois State law requires you to have a working smoke detector on every level of your home and within 15' of all bedrooms. It's not a bad idea to have a smoke detector in all of the bedrooms as well. Be sure to test all smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries every 6 months.



Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas which, depending on the concentration and length of exposure, can be deadly. CO can come from a variety of sources, including gas-fired appliances, grills, wood-burning furnaces or fireplaces, cars or any gas-powered engine.

Under state law, all homes must be equipped with at least one CO alarm located within 15 feet of every bedroom.  

CO alarms do have a shelf life and it is important that they are checked regularly and, if needed, replaced. On average, CO alarms should be replaced every five (5) years. It is best to check the manufacturer instructions of your specific alarm for recommended replacement dates and installation.



Every home should have a portable fire extinguisher; they can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.

Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings.

Install fire extinguishers close to an exit so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.

A fire extinguisher should be examined monthly, tested yearly and replaced if the gauge is not in the green or its more than ten years old.



  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
  • Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected and around the drum.
  • Rigid or flexible metal venting materials should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
  • Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
  • Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
  • Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
  • Follow the manufacturer's operating instructions and don't over-load your dryer.
  • Do not leave a dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.
  • Never dry items that have come in contact with flammable substances, such as cooking oil, gasoline, and paint thinner, or alcohol.
  • Keep the dryer area clear of things that can burn, such as boxes or clothing.
  • Check the outdoor vent to make sure it is not covered by snow or obstructed.