Smoke Detectors Save Lives!

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Smoke detectors are the most inexpensive and effective early-warning device for fires available for your home. Consider the following facts about fire:

  • More than half of all fatal fires in the home happen at night

  • Most people who die in a fire in their home do not die in the room where the fire began

  • Smoke detectors cut the risk of dying in a fire in your home in half

 There are many smoke detectors available today with many features. You should be sure to purchase the one that is right for your needs. There are smoke detectors that are hardwired into your homes electrical system. These are meant for new construction and remodeling. When purchasing these be sure that they have a battery back-up on them. The traditional battery powered smoke detector is still popular today and can be purchased for $10 to $15 dollars. Other features included on smoke detectors are lights to help you find your way out, “hush-buttons” to silence nuisance alarms caused by non-emergency actions such as cooking and strobe lights for the hearing impaired.

 Regardless of the features all smoke detectors come in one of two types; photoelectric type and ionization type. Both offer adequate protection for your home. The ionization type is slightly more sensitive and is not a good choice for areas such as kitchens.

 No matter which type of smoke detector you purchase make sure it is approved by an independent testing laboratory such as UL and that there is a way to periodically test the smoke detector. This is usually done with a test button located on the face of the smoke detector.

 Smoke detectors should be located on every floor of your home and specifically outside of sleeping areas and follow these rules for installation:

  • Install high on the wall or on the ceiling, heat and smoke rise naturally and this will be the first place the smoke will be detected

  • Do not install a smoke detector within 4 inches of a ceiling or wall, there is a dead air space in the corner that will delay the operation of the smoke detector

  • Smoke detectors mounted in hallways should be mounted in the middle of the hallway

  • If a room has a pitched ceiling mount the smoke detector at or near the highest point

  • In stairways mount smoke detectors near the bottom of the stairs in the path that smoke will follow up the stairs

  • Do not mount basement smoke detectors at the top of the stairs, dead air trapped near the door may prevent smoke from reaching the detector

  • Do not install detectors near windows, doors, forced air vents or fireplaces where drafts can keep smoke from reaching the detector

 Statistics reveal that 20% of smoke detectors are not in proper working order. Like your car and home your smoke detector needs some maintenance to ensure proper operation. Follow these rules to keep your smoke detector operating properly:

  • Change the batteries as recommended by the manufacturer or at least once a year, it is a good idea to do this on given day such as when you change your clocks or on New Years Day

  • Test your smoke detector at least once a month, this is usually done by depressing the test button

  • Clean the smoke detector twice a year using a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and cobwebs

  • Never paint a smoke detector

  • Replace your smoke detector if it is performing erratically or if it is 10 years old

  • Never remove the batteries from your smoke detector to use in another device

 The last thing you need to fully use your smoke detector is a Home Escape Plan, you can learn how to do one by visiting that section of our web site.

 Residents on a fixed income and senior citizens living in the Madison Township area can contact the Fire Department at 614-837-7883 for information on how to get a free smoke detector.