Smoke Alarms play a vital role in home fire safety. Alarms provide early warning of smoke and fire danger especially during sleeping hours, to alert people to get out to safety.
Most fatal home fires occur at night, when people are asleep. The early warning sound of a smoke alarm can wake people in time for them to escape. Smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire nearly in half by alerting people to a fire in its early states.
When was the last time you checked the batteries in your alarm? Are there batteries in your alarm or were they taken out for other uses? It takes only a minute to test your alarm each month. Testing can detect faulty smoke alarms so that corrective action, such as replacing worn out alarms or dead batteries, may be taken. Test your smoke alarm once a month and change the battery twice a year. Over time, dust and cobwebs can clog the openings of the sensory device and with age, electronic components may fail or wear out. Alarms may not work as expected in a real fire emergency if alarms are poorly maintained. Smoke alarms should be cleaned twice a year by gently vacuuming the inside and wiping the cover with a damp cloth. If your smoke alarm is older than 10 years old or doesn’t sound an alarm when tested, replace it with a new unit. The average lifespan of a smoke alarm is about 10 years.
Since the majority of fatal home fires happen when people sleep, a smoke alarm should be installed, at a minimum, outside each sleeping area; and on each level of the home (including the basement) Cooking fumes, steam and automobile exhaust can result in nuisance alarms. Do not install alarms in bathrooms, kitchens (unless specifically designed for kitchen use), garages, attics, or unheated areas. Place alarms at least three feet (horizontally) from kitchen and bathroom doors.
Hard Wired Smoke Alarms- Hard wired alarm systems are powered by the home’s AC electrical system, which also allows the alarms to be interconnected so that when one goes off, they all sound. Some hard-wired alarms have a battery back up; if not battery operated alarms should be mounted next to electric alarms in case of power failure. Hard-wired alarm systems should be tested monthly.