Blog – Disaster Preparedness, Fire and Smoke Damage

Smoke Alarms 101

Smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a fire in half. According to the National Fire Protection Association, two-third of fire-related deaths occurred in a home that did not have a smoke alarm or a working smoke alarm.

The purpose of a smoke alarm is to detect smoke while a fire is still small, giving you just enough time to get out of your home. In honor of National Fire Prevention Week, which runs from October 3 to October 9, we’re offering the following tips about smoke alarm installation and maintenance.

Smoke Alarm Installation Tips

  • Ionization smoke alarms respond better to flaming fires. Photoelectric smoke alarms respond better to moldering fires. For the best protection, install combination alarms in your home.
  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, including the basement, and one outside of every bedroom.
  • If someone in the home is hard or hearing or deaf, install an alarm that has a flashing light, vibrates and makes a louder than normal sound.
  • Mount smoke alarms at least 4-inches away from the nearest wall. Install wall-mounted smoke alarms 4 to 12-inches away from the ceiling’s highest point.
  • Do not install smoke alarms near doors, windows or ducts.

Smoke Alarm Maintenance Tips

  • Test your smoke alarms on a monthly basis.
  • Replace the batteries on your smoke alarm whenever you hear it chirp or once a year, whichever comes first.
  • Replace the entire smoke alarm at least every 10 years.
  • If your smoke alarm is sensitive to steam or cooking fumes, replace it with an alarm that has a “hush” button. This way you do not have to take the battery out of your existing alarm while you cook.

Make fire alarm maintenance part of your emergency disaster plan.

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