Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:06 pm
I just wanted to start the new year off for us all to be Safe.
We all know about Smoke Alarms (Detectors) but this is just a reminder.
Focus on Fire Safety: Smoke Alarms
In the event of a fire, a properly installed and maintained smoke alarm can save your life and those of your loved ones. Smoke alarms are a very important means of preventing home fire fatalities by providing an early warning signal so you and your family can escape. They are one of the best safety devices you can buy and install to protect yourself, your family, and your home. You can prevent tragedies simply by testing and maintaining your smoke alarms and practicing a fire escape plan. All smoke alarms in your house should be tested once a month and their batteries replaced annually or as indicated by the manufacturerâ€™s instructions.
What Types of Smoke Alarms Are Available?
There are many different brands of smoke alarms available on the market but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric. These types of smoke alarms sense the presence of smoke differently.
The type of smoke produced by a fire depends strongly on the type of fire. Flaming fires produce a different type of smoke than smoldering fires.
Both types of smoke alarms will detect the smoke from either a smoldering fire or a flaming fire. It has been factually established and well known for many years that:
* Ionization type smoke alarms tend to respond faster to the smoke produced by flaming fires than photoelectric type smoke alarms, and
* Photoelectric type smoke alarms tend to respond faster to the smoke produced by smoldering fires than ionization type smoke alarms.
In some full-scale fire tests, the difference in the time to alarm between ionization and photoelectric type smoke alarms has been found to be trivial. In other full-scale fire tests, the difference in response time has been found to be considerable.
The USFA provides the following guidance to the public and to state and local legislative bodies that may be grappling with the issue of the proper type of smoke alarm to select for use in a residence:
* It cannot be stated categorically that one type of smoke alarm is better than any other type of smoke alarm in every fire situation that could possibly arise in a residence.
* Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different yet potentially fatal fires, and because no one can predict what type of fire might start in a home, the USFA recommends that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with either (a) both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms, or (b) dual sensor smoke alarms (which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors).
* The location of a smoke alarm within a home may be more important than the type of smoke alarm present, depending on the location of a fire. The USFA recommends that users follow the manufacturerâ€™s guidance on the recommended location of smoke alarms in a home.
The USFA recommends that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with either (a) both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms, or (b) dual sensor smoke alarms (which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors).
Where Would I Get Smoke Alarms?
Many hardware, home supply, or general merchandise stores carry smoke alarms. If you are unsure where to buy one in your community, call your local fire department (on a non emergency telephone number) and department personnel will provide you with some suggestions. Some fire departments offer smoke alarms for little or no cost.
Okay, Where Do I Put Them?
Install a smoke alarm on every floor of your home, even the basement.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or in the early morning. For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside sleeping areas. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible. Always follow the manufacturerâ€™s installation instructions.
Are Smoke Alarms Hard to Install?
If your smoke alarms are hard-wired, that is wired into the electrical system, you will need to have a qualified electrician do the initial installation or install replacements. For battery-powered smoke alarms, all you will need for installation is a screw driver. Some brands are self-adhesive and will easily stick to the wall or ceiling where they are placed. For all smoke alarm installations, be sure you follow the manufacturerâ€™s instructions because there are differences between various brands. If you are uncomfortable standing on a ladder, ask a relative or friend for help. Some fire departments will install a smoke alarm in your home for you.
How Do I Keep My Smoke Alarm Working?
Change your smoke alarm batteries at least once a year - maybe at Daylight Saving Time or on your birthday. Or just give your self a battery for Christmas.
If you have a smoke alarm with batteries:
* Smoke alarms powered by long-lasting batteries are designed to replace the entire unit according to manufacturerâ€™s instructions.
* In standard type battery-powered smoke alarms, the batteries need to be replaced at least once every year and the whole unit replaced every 8 â€“ 10 years.
* In hard-wired, battery back-up smoke alarms, the batteries need to be checked monthly and replaced at least once every year. The entire unit should be replaced every 8 â€“ 10 years.
What if the Alarm Goes Off While Iâ€™m Cooking?
Then itâ€™s doing its job. Do not disable the smoke alarm. You may not remember to put the batteries back in. Instead, clear the air by waving a towel near the alarm, leaving the batteries in place.
*Ninety-six percent of all homes have at least one smoke alarm. Overall, three-quarters of all U.S. homes have at least one working smoke alarm.
*Sixty-five percent of reported home fire deaths in 2000-2004 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
*No smoke alarms were present in 43% of the home fire deaths.
*In 22% of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.
*The death rate per 100 reported fires is twice as high in homes without working smoke alarms as homes with working smoke alarms.
*An estimated 890 lives could be saved each year if all homes had working smoke alarms!
Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:16 pm
Thanks for the great info.
Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:28 pm
Thanks Jeff, new batteries are on the top of my shopping list for tomorrow!