How do I keep up maintenance and who do I call if my smoke detector is defective and caused an accident/injury?
Smoke detectors and alarms can prove to be a helpful commodity, especially if a fire occurs unbeknownst to occupants or those in the immediate area. In fact, Pennsylvania requires smoke detectors to at least be installed in each sleeping area of all buildings and structures used for residential occupancy.
Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the owner to maintain those smoke detectors. This begs the question: How do I keep up maintenance for my smoke detector?
Each smoke detector in a building or home needs to be able to sense visible or invisible particles of combustion and they need to be capable of producing an audible alarm if smoke is detected. Therefore, maintenance needs to be done regularly to ensure the smoke detectors are always in working order.
Here are simple steps to take in order to keep up maintenance on your smoke alarm(s):
- Regular testing – more often than not, each smoke detector comes equipped with a button used to test it and make sure it is in working condition. To be sure of testing procedures for your smoke alarm, refer to the manufacturer’s guide for your smoke alarm. A smoke detector should be tested no less than once a month to make sure the battery and the alarm are operating. It also helps to familiarize occupants and residents with the sound the detector makes when it detects smoke.
- Replace batteries – there are many different types and styles of smoke detectors so it is important to make sure you know how to change your batteries. It is recommended that you change the batteries in your smoke detector annually.
- Clean your unit – like changing the batteries, you should also make sure to clean your smoke detector. This can be something as simple as dusting or vacuuming the unit to rid it of any particles that may affect the smoke detector’s performance. Cleaning should be done at least once a year.
It is important to also take note that most smoke detectors will emit a regular beep if the battery is low and needs changing. Also, the overall service life of a smoke detector is 10 years and each unit has a manufacture date with which to determine its age. One other important piece of maintaining a proper smoke detector is to never paint the unit.
As with any device, proper maintenance and upkeep can only go so far. If the smoke detector is defective and does not alert occupants or residents in time to escape a fire and injuries occur, the manufacturer may be at fault.
If you feel your smoke detector was defective and, in turn, caused an accident or injury it is essential to contact an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options. The fire and burn injury attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. are ready to fight for your rights and to hold the responsible party accountable. Contact them today.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.