Just like seatbelts, smoke alarms are silent and unsung heroes. Since the early ‘70s, when they first reached the market, they have saved millions of lives each year. In many instances, occupants have less than one minute to escape. And fire isn’t the only killer. Deadly smoke, heat and toxic gases can all contribute to blocking a safe escape. Maintaining a working smoke alarm – or alarms, preferably – greatly increases your survival, should a fire occur in your home.
General care tips for maintaining working smoke detectors:
Make sure you:
have detectors tested at least once a month
change detector batteries at least once a year (make this routine by changing the batteries every time you change your clocks). Never let it get to the point where a “chirping” noise is sounding (the detector’s warning that it is time to replace the batteries)
vacuum or blow out dust from your alarm(s) once a month push the test button periodically
never paint your smoke alarms
replace smoke alarms that are ten years old or older. Check the label that indicates the date of manufacture. If your alarm doesn’t have a label, it’s past ten years old. The key here? When it doubt, replace it!
How to properly place smoke detectors:
Make sure there is a detector:
on every level of your home
in hallways outside bedrooms
at the top of open stairways
at the base of cellar stairs
inside the bedroom for sound sleepers or smokers
(Note: If you have questions as to proper placement of your smoke detectors, contact your local fire department. They will be happy to assist you in determining the most effective locations(s) in your home. )
Innovations in the newest smoke detectors:
Many improvements have been made to today’s smoke detectors, making protecting yourself and your family even easier than before. Check out these latest features and decide what’s best for you:
A “silencer” for burned dinners and other false alarms” in the kitchen is a convenient feature in new alarms. The alarm is silenced for three minutes and then returns to normal operating mode. No need to remove the batteries, which you should never do, anyway. If there is something more serious going on, you will be alerted.
A new light feature on many of the newer alarms actually lights the way to help you escape your home safely. This feature is especially ideal for stairs and hallways.
A remote flashlight sensor lets you test your smoke detectors without having to find a flashlight and climb up on a chair. Super convenient for detectors located over a stairway or on a high ceiling.
Smoke detectors are available for special needs:
Smoke alarms are available for the hearing impaired, as well. These alarms are wired to a light, which flashes when the detector is in alarm mode. A vibrating alert unit can also be used under a pillow while the person is asleep.