FIRE SAFETY – Is a term that we all know to be important to protect our lives and our homes.  However, when it comes down to it, have you really taken the time to understand what you should do to protect your family.  Do you know the proper placement of smoke alarms?  Do you know how to care for smoke alarms beyond changing the batteries twice a year?  Do you know the difference between an Ionization alarm and a photoelectric smoke alarm?  If you want to ensure that your family is protected be sure to keep reading this post for information to answer these important questions.

How many smoke alarms should you have?  Well it all depends on how many rooms you have and how many levels you have in your home.  For starters place one smoke alarm on every level of your home, including the basement.  Install smoke alarm within fifteen feet of sleeping areas and for extra safety install one inside each bedroom.  They should be installed on the ceiling within four to twelve inches from the wall or on the wall within the same distance to the ceiling. Be sure to install them at least three feet from a window or air duct.  Do not install a smoke alarm between an air duct and a door.  Be sure to avoid installing alarms in the kitchen, bathroom garage or workshop.  Cooking fumes, steam, and other air particles can create false alarms and/or damage the alarm’s detector.

Did you know that dust can cause false alarms?  You can use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and cobwebs. If painting near a smoke alarm, use a shield to keep paint out of the unit and remove the shield when finished. It is advised that you test your alarms monthly and change the batteries twice a year with brand new batteries.  The life span of a smoke alarm is 7-10 years. To determine the age and life expectancy check the manufacturers instructions.  You can also view the date manufactured by removing the unit from ceiling/wall.  PLEASE replace your smoke alarm after it has expired!! Experts say that one-third of home smoke alarms are not working.

There are two types of smoke alarms – Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms.  Ionization alarms are activated when the electrical current inside them is changed by smoke. Ionization smoke alarms respond quickly to heat and flames, so they are best at detecting fast spreading fires.  Photoelectric smoke alarms are triggered when smoke particles redirect a beam of light inside the unit. These alarms can detect the smoke from a smoldering fire before flames appear.  It is advised by experts to have both types of alarms installed in your home.

A house fire can move quickly and as it grows it picks up speed.  However, the real killer is smoke! A person can die of smoke inhalation in less than a minute.  Did you know that smoke can numb the senses and cause a deeper sleep? Without a working alarm most people never wake up when smoke fills the house.  

I hope you have found this information usefully and will take the time to inspect the placement and condition of your smoke alarms.  If you know of an elderly person please be sure to help them out by inspecting their smoke alarms.  Also, smoke alarms are a great Birthday or Christmas gift to protect the ones you love.