Smoke Alarms Save Lives
of fatal home fires happen at night when people are asleep. Contrary to popular belief, the smell of smoke may not wake a
sleeping person. The poisonous gases and smoke produced by a fire can numb the senses and put you into a deeper sleep.
household smoke alarms sound an alarm, alerting you to a fire. By giving you time to escape, smoke alarms cut your risk of
dying in a home fire nearly in half. Smoke alarms save so many lives that most states have laws requiring them in private
Don’t gamble with your life or the lives
of your family!!
Choosing an Alarm
sure that the smoke alarms you buy carry the label of an independent testing laboratory. Several types of alarms are available.
Some run on batteries, others on household current. Some detect smoke using an “ionization” sensor; others use
a “photoelectric” detection system. All listed smoke alarms, regardless of type, will offer adequate protection
provided they are all installed and maintained properly.
Every home should have at least one smoke alarm outside each sleeping
area and on every level of the home, including the basement. The National Fire Alarm Code, published by the NFPA, requires
a smoke alarm in every sleeping room for new construction. On floors without bedrooms, alarms should be installed in or near
living areas, such as dens, living rooms, or family rooms.
Be sure everyone sleeping in your home can hear
your smoke alarm. If any residents are hearing-impaired or sleep with bedroom doors closed, install additional alarms inside
sleeping areas as well. There are special smoke alarms for the hearing impaired; these flash a light in addition to sounding
an audible alarm.
For extra protection, the NFPA suggests installing alarms in dining rooms, furnace
rooms, utility rooms, and hallways. Smoke alarms are not recommended for kitchens, bathrooms, or garages-where cooking fumes,
steam, or exhaust fumes could set off false alarms-or for attics and other unheated spaces where humidity and temperature
changes might affect an alarm’s operation.
Where to Install
Because smoke rises, mount alarms high on a wall or on the ceiling. Wall-mounted units should
be mounted so that the top of the alarm is 4 to 12 inches (10 to 30 centimeters) from the ceiling. A ceiling- mounted alarm
should be attached at least 4 inches (10 centimeters) from the nearest wall. In a room with a pitched ceiling, mount the alarm
at or near the ceiling’s highest point.
In stairways with no doors at the top or bottom, position smoke alarms anywhere in the path of
smoke moving up the stairs. But always position smoke alarms at the bottom of closed stairways, such as those leading from
the basement, because dead air trapped near the door at the top of a stairway could prevent smoke from reaching an alarm located
at the top.
REMEMBER: A smoke
detector that doesn’t work is like having no smoke detector at all.
Most battery-powered smoke alarms and alarms that plug into wall outlets can be installed using
only a drill and a screwdriver, by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Plug-in alarms must have restraining devices so they cannot be unplugged by accident. Alarms
can also be hard-wired into a building’s electrical system. Hard-wired alarms should be installed by a qualified electrician.
Never connect a smoke alarm to a circuit that can be turned off from a wall switch.
Cooking vapors and steam sometimes set off a smoke alarm. To correct
this, try moving the alarm away from the kitchen or bathroom, or install an exhaust fan. Cleaning your alarm regularly, according
to manufacturer’s instructions, may also help.
· Only a functioning smoke alarm can protect you.
Never disable an alarm by “borrowing”
its battery for another use.
· Following manufacturer’s instructions, test all your smoke alarms monthly and install new batteries
at least once a year-when you set the clocks back in the fall, for example-or when an alarm is “chirping” to indicate
that the battery is low.
· Ten-year alarms using a 10-year lithium battery are now available.
Clean your smoke alarms using a dust brush without
removing the alarm’s cover.
· Never paint a smoke alarm.
Smoke alarms don’t last forever. Replace
any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old.
Plan and Practice
· Make sure everyone is familiar with the sound of the detectors’ alarms.
· Plan escape routes. Know at least two ways out of each room. Agree on a meeting place outside your
home where all residents will gather after they escape. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
· Remove obstructions from doors and windows needed for escape.
Make sure everyone in the household can unlock
doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Windows or doors with security bars should be equipped with quick-release devices
and everyone in the household should know how to use them.
When an alarm sounds, leave immediately. Go directly
to your meeting place and call the fire department from a neighbor’s phone.
Once you’re out, stay out. Never go back
inside a burning building!
Did You Know:
Ø When you’re asleep you can’t
smell smoke-if anything, smoke will put you into a deeper sleep.
Ø 90% of people that are found in a fire look like they’re asleep;
the only difference is their faces are dirty from the soot because they died from the smoke and gases.
Ø Most people die in the first 5 minutes
of a fire.
a fire, heat at the floor level is 90 degrees, at head height, the temperature is 600 degrees, and at the ceiling, the temperature
is 800 degrees. Heat at over 150 degrees will knock you unconscious and kill you.
Ø A fire burning in a house for 1 minute grows to 3 times its original
size. In 4 minutes, it grows to 11 times its size, and in 6 minutes, it reaches 50 times its original size.
Ø It is estimated that half the homes
across the country, don’t have working smoke detectors due to the batteries being dead or missing.