According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2015, there were 501,500 structure fires in the U.S. These fires caused 2,685 deaths, 13,000 injuries and $10.3 billion in property damage. This means that there is a home structure fire reported every 86 seconds and a fire-related injury every 34 minutes.
Smoke detectors don’t deter a fire from happening, but they are life saving, since they go off at the first signs of smoke. In the event of a fire, time means everything. A smoke detector provides you with enough time to be alerted and act swiftly. They can be purchased for as little as $15 at any hardware store, such as Lowes Hardware or The Home Depot. But, before you go, be aware that there are several things you should know:
There are three different types of smoke detectors: photoelectric, ionization and dual technology.
Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms detect two different types of fires. Ionization smoke alarms detect small particles of smoke, produced by fast fires. One thing to note about ionization smoke alarms, are that they can be prone to false alarms (think of the times you’ve burnt some popcorn in the kitchen).
Photoelectric smoke alarms, on the other hand, detect large particles of smoke in a flame’s early, smoldering stage.
Many people are choosing to have the dual technology sensors in their homes, since they detect both photoelectric and ionization smoke types. Which do you have? Each sensor type will be properly labeled on the back and on it’s packaging, so you’ll know which type you currently have in your home, or what type you are purchasing.
There are two different types of smoke detector power sources to choose from: hard-wired and battery-only. Hard-wired sensors must be professional installed and run off of a 120-volt house current. These come with a battery backup in the event that there is an issue with the house current. Battery-only detectors operate off of a 9-volt battery are easy to self-install. You can position them wherever you’d like, but they do require you to stay on top of the battery replacement each year (or whenever the battery begins to get low and starts chirping).
The key places to install a smoke detector inside the home include: each bedroom, the living room and the kitchen. At the very least, you’ll want at least one smoke detector on each floor. A key thing to note is that once a detector is in place, it can’t just be forgotten; it requires regular maintenance and checking.
According to the NFPA, dead batteries caused 24 percent of smoke alarm failures. 46 percent (nearly half) of the failures were attributed to missing or disconnected batteries. So it’s essential that you stay on top of your smoke detectors. You can ensure that your smoke detector is properly working each month by pressing the test button. If it’s working, you’ll hear the siren. Another thing to do is, every few months; make sure the smoke detector is free of dust—it has to stay clean to operate correctly. Again, it’s best to replace all batteries every year. A little bit of maintenance is all it takes; however, it’s advised that each detector be completely replaced once every 10 years.
In the event that your fire detector goes off and there is a fire, you can not only call 911 to alert the fire department of your emergency, but also use your digital keypad to alert them as well. Again, every second counts in the event of a fire. Being able to get quickly get out and contact 911 means literally saving your life and your property.