It is important for us to state at the beginning of this article, that no matter how well you plan to keep your house safe, fires may still occur as accidental events. These events however may be less traumatic with safety measures in place.
While deciding for a first article for our web site, the decision seemed easy with choosing smoke detectors. These devices have proven themselves over many years to be vital in early recognition of a fire, allowing the occupants time to escape from a fire and the toxic gases that it produces. Here we will discuss many topics of smoke detectors and provide information on the proper use of smoke detectors.
First, as we have said in the previous paragraph, a smoke detector is a device meant to warn occupants of a smoke, or fire condition early enough so that the occupants are able to safely exit the area. Many fire deaths and fire injuries are actually caused by smoke and gases. Always remember, the longer the delay on recognizing a fire, the deadlier the consequences become.
We at the fire department are frequently asked where smoke detectors can be purchased, and which smoke detectors are best. To both of these questions we normally answer by advising that a smoke detector can be purchased at many hardware stores, and department stores in many locations. Secondly we believe that there is not one BEST smoke detector on the market, they all work in the same manner, detecting smoke caused by a fire. There are several different brands of smoke detectors on the market today, and we always advise when shopping for them, to read the features of each that are available, and make your decision from there.
Now that you have you newly purchased smoke detector home, there are some important things that should be mentioned to help you decide where to place it. First, read all the important information that came with your particular smoke detector and follow the manufacturers suggestions, these may vary from brand to brand. At this point we would like to say that you should put either a brand new battery in your smoke detector, or the one that came with your smoke detector. Then the smoke detector should be tested, this is usually done by holding down the button on the front of the smoke detector for a couple of seconds, until the detector begins to sound. This insures that the smoke detector works before placing it up in your house.
Below we have listed general information on smoke detectors and their safe operation:
- At least ONE smoke detector should be placed on EACH floor of your home.
- Smoke detectors should be placed near bedrooms, either on the ceiling or 6-12 inches below the ceiling on the wall.
- Smoke detectors should be tested according to manufacturer’s instructions on a regular basis (at least once a month) and should be kept in working condition at all times.
- Batteries are to be replaced according to manufacturer’s instructions, at least once a year, or when a “chirping” sound is heard.
- Batteries should NEVER be disconnected.
- The smoke detector has a distinct warning signal, and occupants should be able to hear it either sleeping or awake.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance. Smoke detectors can save lives, but only if properly installed and maintained.
- NEVER disconnect a smoke detector. Consider relocating the smoke detector rather than disconnecting the battery if it is subject to nuisance alarms, such as from cooking.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions about cleaning your detector. Excessive dust, grease or other material in the detector may cause it to operate abnormally. Vacuum the grill work of your detector.
And finally, we would like to stress the fact that you should not solely rely on smoke detectors alone. You should always have an escape plan in place that all the family members practice, and know well, in case a fire does occur.