According to the National Fire Protection Association, 37% of all deaths that were caused by fires in homes between 2007 and 2011 were in homes that didn’t have smoke detectors. Furthermore, 60% of all fire-related home deaths were caused because either a smoke detector wasn’t installed or because it wasn’t working as it should. By having a properly functioning and installed smoke detector in your home, you will reduce the probability of death from a house fire by almost half. Below are some easy and effective tips that you can use in order to reduce the risk of death from a fire.
Selecting the Right Smoke Alarm
Smoke alarms that are interconnected are highly recommended by the National Fire Protection Association; this is because all of the alarms in the premises will be activated as soon as a single detector detects smoke. As such, you don’t have to worry about not hearing a detector go off while you are asleep, and all of your loved ones will be alerted in the shortest time possible. In the event of a fire, every second can be the difference between life and death, so choosing a brand that offers interconnected smoke alarms is an absolute must for complete peace of mind.
Moreover, if you decide to go with a battery operated unit then you must test it on a monthly basis. Hard-wired units usually have a backup battery installed so that they can still be operational in the event of a blackout. However, you should still test a hard-wired unit every month to make sure that it is working as intended. In the end, going with a hard-wired model is preferred because of the battery backup feature that it provides.
There is also the question of whether to go with a photoelectric or ionization model. The difference is that the photoelectric model will detect fires that are smouldering quicker than its ionization counterpart. However, the ionization units are also no slouch and will detect flaming fires more effectively than its photoelectric counterpart. Given that they both have unique strengths, we would recommend that you purchase at least one of each so that you are completely protected from all types of fire.
Finally, if you, or someone you love, is hearing impaired or deaf then you may want to consider picking up an alarm that includes state of the art bed shakers and/or strobe lights. The aforementioned features can also save the lives of those who are heavy sleepers.
How To Properly Install a Smoke Alarm
To ensure that you have comprehensive protection in and around your home you should install a smoke alarm in every bedroom, as well as outside of each bedroom. Every floor in your residence should also have at least one smoke alarm properly installed, which includes your basement if applicable. Positioning is also crucial, so you should install each unit high-up on your walls and have units mounted on your ceiling; the reasoning behind this is that hot air carrying smoke will actually rise above cool air, so placing the unit at an elevated position will allow for faster smoke detection.
Smoke alarms should also be thrown out every decade and replaced with new fully functioning units. You should keep them away from the kitchen, as false alarms are quite common when cooking meals. The general rule of thumb is that a smoke alarm should be installed at least ten feet away from your stove to reduce the probability of false alarms.
What to Do When Your Smoke Detector Goes Off
The first thing to do is be prepared, so take the time to devise a fire evacuation and safety plan with your family. You should decide on a set location where all of your family members will meet in the event that a fire occurs. For instance, you may decide to meet up with everyone at a specific tree or mailbox that is a good distance away from your home to avoid smoke inhalation.
Furthermore, if you have young children, elderly people, or people with disabilities living with you then they should be assigned guardians who will step up to help them exit the premises safely. It also goes without saying that you must stop whatever it is that you were doing and immediately exit the premises as soon as a fire alarm goes off.
Do not panic or wait around and remember the plan that you’ve established to exit safely. You should also not re-enter your home until firefighters tell you it is safe to do so or if you are 100% certain that it was just a false alarm.
Fire safety is something that should never be taken for granted. Accidents do happen, often when people least expect them, so it is best to plan ahead in the event of a fire, and one of the most effective ways to do so is to install several functional smoke alarms in and around your home.
If you would like to learn more about how to reduce the risk of death with smoke detectors then Hi-Lite Electric Inc can help. We have over 35 years of experience in smoke and carbon monoxide detector installations, aluminum wiring, surge protection and other electrical maintenance, repair and installations services in Toronto, York and Peele. For more information, contact us here.