Smoke alarms save lives

In Home maintenance tips, safety by Mark Goodman

Today I’d like to talk about the smoke alarm.  I don’t want to tell you how many times we inspect homes and see missing alarms or ones that have been taken down and never replaced because they were chirping.

Everyone knows smoke alarms save lives!

So why do three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms?

“Smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.”

Alarm Placement-from BRK manual

So here are some things you should know and do. First make sure that you have working smoke alarms in every bedroom and within 6ft of every bedroom door outside the bedrooms. Make sure you have one on every level. If you have cathedral ceilings please see the illustration as to where to locate the alarm and if you have gas heat and or appliances install at least one carbon monoxide detector near or in the bedrooms. Larger homes may need additional smoke alarms. Test your smoke alarms monthly and make a fire escape plan. Practice it and make sure everyone knows where to meet once outside the house.

cathedral smoke alarm installIf you have a newer home you will probably have A/C powered interconnected ones with a battery backup. There are two kinds of smoke alarms Ionization and photoelectric.

“Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in the home. “

Studies have show that children don’t always wake up when a smoke alarm sounds, but respond better to the talking ones.

nestYou can also purchase ones like Nest Protect . “It has an industrial-grade smoke sensor, tests itself automatically, and lasts up to a decade. It’s also the first home alarm you can hush from your phone without any extra hardware required. And just like the original Nest Protect, it tells you what’s wrong and can even alert your phone.” Plus Nest Protect speaks up if there’s smoke or CO and tells you where it is, so you know what to do.

Manufactures specifications indicate that smoke alarms have a 10 year lifespan. Do you know how old your detectors are? There have been several recalls over the years the most recent being by Kidde in September of 2014.  For more information on smoke and carbon monoxide alarm/detector recalls please visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

For more information and exact locations you should install the smoke alarm contact your local fire department or visit the National Fire Protection Association.