Smoke detectors are one of the most important safety devices you can have in your home. They should be installed in the hallways and in the bedrooms. Smoke detectors provide early warning in the event of a fire, and enable emergency action in the event of a fire. They are inexpensive, easy to install, unobtrusive, and require very little maintenance, and no home should be without them.
Why should my home have smoke alarms?
In the event of a fire, a smoke alarm can save your life and those of your loved ones. They are the single most important means of preventing house and apartment fire fatalities by providing an early warning signal -- so you and your family can escape. Smoke alarms are one of the best safety features you can buy and install to protect yourself, your family and your home.
Smoke Alarm Types Photoelectric and Ionization
There are two types of smoke alarms available today: photoelectric and ionization. When smoke enters a photoelectric alarm, light from a pulsating light source is reflected off the smoke particles onto a light sensor, triggering the alarm. When smoke enters an ionization alarm, ionized air molecules attach to the smoke particles and reduce the ionizing current, triggering the alarm.
While photoelectric smoke alarms generally respond faster to smoldering smoke conditions and ionization smoke alarms generally respond faster to flaming fire conditions, both types provide adequate protection against fire. Combination smoke alarms featuring both photoelectric and ionization technology are also available at hardware, department and home improvement stores.
Okay, where do I put them?
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 the sleeping area.
Also, smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or 6 to 8 inches below the ceiling on side walls. 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 manufacturer's installation instructions.
Things to Look for in Smoke Detectors
Any smoke detector you install should have a test button. When the button is depressed, the audible alarm sounds the warning signal. If you have a hearing impaired person in your house, consider the installation of a hearing impaired smoke detector. These are special units that feature a powerful strobe light to alert the hearing impaired in the event of a fire.
How Good Are Smoke Detectors?
They are very good indeed. The common home smoke detector cost around $10.00 and will detect smoke in very small concentrations in the home. Smoke emission occurs during the early stages of a fire, so smoke detectors in the ceilings of the home will provide plenty of early warning in the event of a fire.
Develop an escape plan and review the plan with all members of the family frequently. Be aware that children and elderly people may need special assistance should a fire occur. Establish a meeting place outside the house for all members of the family to ensure that everyone gets out safely. When fire occurs, get out of the house and use a neighbor's telephone to notify the Fire Department.
Every year in the United States, about 3,000 people lose their lives in residential fires. Most fire victims die from inhalation of smoke and toxic gases, not as a result of burns. Most deaths and injuries occur in fires that happen at night while the victims are asleep.
Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms in the home are considered one of the best and least expensive means of providing an early warning of a potentially deadly fire. Smoke alarms save lives, prevent injuries, and minimize property damage by enabling residents to detect fires early in their development. The risk of dying from fires in homes without smoke alarms is twice as high as in homes that have working smoke alarms.