It cannot be stressed enough the importance of home smoke alarms. It is not enough to have one, but it should be in good working order as well.
It can mean the difference between a tragedy and saving your life and the lives of your family members.
It is said that at least 97% of residences own a smoke alarm and have one installed. It is also said that of those 97%, that only about 1/3 of them are in good working order.
The reason behind this is that often the batteries die or they are taken out altogether.
Many times a smoke alarm will go off because of smoky kitchen conditions when cooking and they become a nuisance so people take the batteries out to avoid the piercing alarm.
There are plenty of home smoke alarms that are now manufactured with a feature that allows the person in the home to quiet the alarm for short periods of time like when you are cooking or there are many people smoking in the house. This is called a hush feature and it eliminates the need to take out the batteries.
Smoke Alarm Upkeep
The FDNY Fire Safety Education Unit recommends that your smoke alarms are tested at least twice a year. Batteries should be changed regularly and they should never be removed.
If you need to purchase a new smoke alarm, they also recommend a smoke alarm that is photoelectric or photoelectric/ionization in nature as they are not as sensitive and will not become a nuisance. They are also said to warn the occupants more quickly than the standard alarms that are of ionization only.
For those that forget to change batteries or for anyone that will have difficulty changing batteries frequently, using a lithium battery with a lifespan of ten years is recommended.
You are also advised to have more than one smoke alarm installed in your home. One in the hallway is fine, but it is recommended that wherever there are people sleeping, a smoke alarm should be installed.
Your smoke alarm should be mounted on the ceiling in the room’s center. It should not be installed on your walls and if you do install it there make sure that it is from four to twelve inches away from the ceiling.
Having a working smoke alarm has increasingly shown that it can save lives. It would be a shame for your family to suffer because you did not keep up with your smoke alarm maintenance or you failed to install them in your home.