Smoke Alarm 411

smoke alarm

United States fire departments responded to 370,000 dwelling place fires in 2011.  Nearly 62% of the reported fire deaths occurred in homes without smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm in your home can mean the difference between life or death for you and your family, not to mention that it also lowers the risk for firefighters as well.

Which type of fire alarm should I purchase?

The U.S. Fire Administration recommends that you install both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual sensor smoke alarms.Reason? They each detect a different type of fire. Ionization smoke alarms generally respond better to flaming fire where photoelectric smoke detectors are best for responding to smoldering fires.

How much does a smoke alarm cost?

Smoke alarms are relatively inexpensive. You can expect to pay between $6 and $20 for an ionization or photoelectric smoke alarm. A dual alarm will cost between $24 and $40.

How often should I test the batteries?

Test the batteries monthly. Expect to replace the batteries yearly. Try not to wait for the annoying beeping that a smoke alarm will put off if the battery is running low. It has been my experience that my alarms will wait until the middle of the night to beep.

Where should the detectors be placed?

Install smoke alarms both inside and outside of the sleeping areas of your home.  You do not want a door in the way being the reason you or a loved one does not get out of a home in time.

Is there a point at which we should replace our smoke alarms completely?

The entire smoke alarm unit must be replaced every 8-10 years. If your smoke alarm was installed before February 25, 2003, it needs to be replaced.

Having a smoke alarm that is out of batteries or out of date is the same as not having one. Also, many insurance companies offer discounts for monitored fire alarms. Check with your local insurance agent to see if you qualify.

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