The National Fire Prevention Association offers essential advice for the installation and use of smoke detectors (smoke alarms).
The Right Tools for the Job
It is important to have the right kind of smoke detectors. There are three basic types of smoke detectors: Ionization alarms, Photoelectric alarms and Dual sensor smoke alarms. Ionization alarms sound more quickly when a flaming, fast moving fire occurs. Photoelectric alarms excel at sensing smoldering, smoky fires. Dual sensor alarms contain both ionization and photoelectric sensors are therefore really the most effective.
Location, Location, Location
Having smoke detectors installed on every level of the house is essential. Many fires start in basements and garages; be sure to prepare these rooms against fires. It is also a good idea to have smoke alarms in sleeping areas.
The Young & Not So Restless
Children and elderly adults are the most likely to sleep through smoke alarms, and are the most susceptible to fire related injury and death. Make sure that smoke alarms are not only in close proximity to areas where children and elderly family members sleep, but that they are loud enough to hear. New talking smoke alarms are highly recommended in protecting those more vulnerable to fires. Click Here for more details.
Keeping the Ship, Ship Shape
Making sure that smoke alarms are in top working order is key to making your home fire safe. Check batteries regularly. (If you have trouble remembering to do this associate it with a holiday, birthday, or on the same day each month or every other month.)If your detectors are making a beeping or chirping sound, change the batteries immediately and reset them.
Another excellent practice in smoke detector maintenance is to have the alarms hard wired into your one hundred twenty volt household wiring, this should only be done by professional electricians. It is also recommended that detectors are backed up with batteries. Alarms can also be connected so that they all go off is danger is detected anywhere in the house, this ensures that everyone in the area will be alerted and can make their way to safety. Have your electrician replace all the smoke detectors every 8 to 10 years with new units.
Practice Makes Perfect
Perhaps the most important step in fire safety is to demonstrate proper smoke detector use to all members of the house hold. Planning for fire escapes, and developing set practices in case of a fire is a must. Please keep your family safe by practicing what to do and where to go during a fire.
The National Fire Prevention Association: Every day millions of Americans work hard to provide for their families and strive to build safe comfortable lives. Sadly the lives and homes we create over years can be devastated in moments. In the United States alone roughly eleven billion dollars of property loss occurs in fires annually. The real tragedies however are the over twenty thousand injuries and nearly three thousand seven hundred deaths (including just over one hundred firefighters in the line of duty) resulting from fires each year.
Since 1971, when twelve thousand Americas died in fires, there have been very successful campaigns to promote fire safety and prevention. Congress passed the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act in 1974 creating the United States Fire Administration (USFA) which gave birth to the National Fire Academy and began a battle against destructive fires that has raged for over twenty years with great success. Since 1974 the USFA has reduced fire related deaths by over fifty percent, with a barrage of public education, research, and training. The fight goes on and we wish to have even greater success protecting and educating your communities and families in how to prevent tragic fires.
There are thousands of little things one can do to prevent fires such as close monitoring of open flames in the home such as candles and fireplace fires, being careful to correctly repair or dispose of exposed wires, check pilot lights and gas lines for leaks frequently, etc., but the most effective way to protect your family and property is to install and maintain smoke alarms properly.