SMOKE ALARMS SAVE LIVES!

A smoke alarm, also known as a smoke detector, is a device that detects smoke and issues an audible sound and/or a visual signal to alert residents to a potential fire. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
Almost two-thirds of reported deaths caused by home fires from 2003 to 2006 resulted from fires in homes that lacked working smoke alarms.
Older homes are more likely to lack an adequate number of smoke alarms because they were built before requirements increased.
Older homes are more likely to lack an adequate number of smoke alarms because they were built before requirements increased.
In 23% of home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound. Sixty percent of these failures were caused by the power supplies having been deliberately removed due to false alarms.
Every year in the United States, about 3,000 people lose their lives in residential fires. Most of these deaths are caused by smoke inhalation, rather than as a result of burns.
Individual authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) may have their own requirements for smoke-alarm placement, so inspectors and homeowners can check with their local building codes if they need specific instructions. The following guidelines, however, can be helpful:

SMOKE DETECTORS SHOULD BE INSTALLED:

on the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the vicinity of bedrooms as well as in each bedroom, as most fires occur during sleeping hours.
in the garage, due to all the combustible materials commonly stored there
in the basement, preferably on the ceiling near the basement stairs;
in each story within a building, including basements and cellars, but not crawlspaces or uninhabited attics.
in the garage, due to all the combustible materials commonly stored theres.
on the ceiling or on the wall with the top of the detector between 6 to 12 inches from the ceiling

SMOKE ALARMS

SHOULD NOT BE INSTALLED:

NEAR

heating or air-conditioning supply and return vents

close to

kitchen appliances

around

windows, ceiling fans or bathrooms equipped with a shower or tub;

where

ambient conditions, including humidity and temperature, are outside the limits specified by the manufacturer’s instructions

WITHIN

unfinished attics or garages, or in other spaces where temperatures can rise or fall beyond the limits set by the manufacturer

WHERE

the mounting surface could become considerably warmer or cooler than the rest of the room, such as an inadequately insulated ceiling below an unfinished attic

in

dead-air spots, such as the top of a peaked roof or a ceiling-to-wall corner

Power and Interconnection:

In reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (46%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms.
Power for the smoke alarms may be hard-wired directly into the building’s electrical system, or it may come from just a battery. Hard-wired smoke detectors are more reliable because the power source cannot be removed or drained, although they will not function in a power outage. Battery-operated units often fail because the battery can be easily removed, dislodged or drained, although these units can be installed almost anywhere. Older buildings might be restricted to battery-powered designs, while newer homes generally offer more options for power sources. If possible, homeowners should install smoke alarms that are hard-wired with a battery backup, especially during a renovation or remodeling projec
Smoke alarms may also be interconnected so that if one becomes triggered, they all sound in unison. Interconnected smoke alarms are typically connected with a wire, but new technology allows them to be interconnected wirelessly. The National Fire Protection Agency requires that smoke alarms be AFCI-protected.

OUR SUGGESTIONS TO YOU:

  • Parents should stage periodic night-time fire drills to assess whether their children will awaken from the alarm and respond appropriately.
  • Never disable a smoke alarm. Use the alarm’s silencing feature to stop nuisance or false alarms triggered by cooking smoke or fireplaces.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly, and replace their batteries at least twice per year. Change the batteries when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.  Most models emit a chirping noise when the batteries are low to alert the homeowner that they need replacement.
  • Smoke alarms should be replaced when they fail to respond to testing, or every 10 years, whichever is sooner. The radioactive element in ionization smoke alarms will decay beyond usability within 10 years.
  • If you have any questions or concerns related to smoke alarms or fire dangers in the home, consult with an InterNACHI inspector during your next scheduled inspection.
  • Smoke detectors should be replaced if they become damaged or wet, are accidentally painted over, are exposed to fire or grease, or are triggered without apparent cause.
  • Note the sound of the alarm. It should be distinct from other sounds in the house, such as the telephone, doorbell and pool alarm.

SAVE YOUR PROPERTY AND FAMILY