CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services is urging residents to be aware of counterfeit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms sold online.

According to the Rowley Fire Department, several counterfeit alarms were found during separate home inspections that have been purchased online. These fake alarms may not protect you in an event of a fire. The State Fire Marshal recommends buying alarms from well-known national brands.

“We discovered these counterfeit alarms during inspections prior to home sales, but there may be many more that we haven’t seen,” said Chief Emery. “It’s important that every residence has working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and it’s equally important that these alarms be reliable. Alarms that aren’t tested by an independent laboratory may not protect you when you need them most.”

Massachusetts fire safety and building codes require that all smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and combination alarms be listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. When purchasing an alarm, be sure to look for the approval label of an independent testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL), International Approval Service (IAS), or Canadian Standards Association (CSA). 

“Choose alarms from a well-known national brand,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “We count on smoke and CO alarms to alert us to life-threatening danger. It may be cheaper to buy an alarm sight unseen online, but if the price seems too good to be true then it probably is.”

Smoke alarms must be replaced every 10 years and are labeled with their date of manufacture. Carbon monoxide alarms should be replaced every 5 to 7 years, depending on the make and model. Some CO alarms have a 10-year sealed battery. 

“Just like batteries, smoke and CO alarms don’t last forever,” said Chief Vuona. “If your alarm takes alkaline batteries, replace the batteries twice a year. We recommend doing this when you change your clocks.  When it’s time to buy a replacement alarm, choose one that has a sealed, long-life battery and a hush feature – you won’t have to worry about changing the battery for the life of the device. And remember to test your alarms once a month to be sure they’re working properly.”