Smoke alarms are an essential component of building safety. Every home must have several smoke alarms to alert anybody in the house to danger as soon as a fire, large or small, appears. However, while smoke alarms can be excellent tools for spotting danger you might miss, there are still things you as a homeowner can do to ensure you benefit from the safety that your home smoke alarm provides.
Install Home Smoke Alarms
If you haven’t had your TriStar electrician install your home smoke alarms, that is the first step towards fire safety. The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed on every floor, inside every bedroom, or outside every sleeping area.
Placement Is Crucial
If possible, mount smoke alarms in the middle of the ceiling. If that is not possible, detectors should be mounted on the wall at least three feet from a corner and a foot of the ceiling. Alarms should be away from drafts created by fans or air ducts. They should also not be too close to the kitchen stove or the bathroom shower, as regular steam can set off false alarms.
Maintain Your Smoke Alarms
You should test your smoke alarms at least once a month to confirm that they are working. You should also replace the batteries every six months or whenever the low battery chirp sounds. The alarm itself should be replaced every ten years.
Select the Right Smoke Alarm
Every smoke alarm can detect smoke and fire, but the kind of alarm you choose depends on your home and your needs.
- Battery alarms: are easily installed with no wiring required; batteries should be changed every six months.
- 10-year sealed battery alarms: these alarms are battery powered and can be installed with no wiring required. However, no battery replacements are needed during the ten years
- Hardwire alarms: these alarms are wired directly into your home’s electrical systems, with battery backup for protection during power outages.
Have a Plan Prepared
If one of your home smoke alarms should go off, you should have an action plan ready. You and your family must be able to escape quickly and safely. The following tips can help you do just that:
- Discuss and practice your escape plan, and be aware of multiple exits from any room in the house
- Before opening a door, feel if the handle is hot. If the door is hot, use an alternate exit
- Crawl on the floor to avoid exposure to the smoke that rises to the top of the room
- Meet at a pre-arranged spot outside of your home
- Call the fire department once safely outside.
By keeping your home smoke alarms in working condition and preparing a safety plan, you can guarantee that you stay safe during any home fire.
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