Everything You Need To Know About Your Smoke Alarm

If you’re going to ask experts, smoke alarms may not be enough to protect you or your family in case a fire does happen. Surprising, right?

Although smoke detectors can help you recognize the signs of imminent fire, they may not be enough to wake everyone up, particularly at night. In fact, studies suggest that kids tend to sleep throughout an alarm. One particular research from Victoria University in Melbourne found out that school-aged children, at least 78% of them, continue to sleep despite an alarm blaring for 30 seconds. What’s even more alarming is that 50% of them didn’t even recognize what the alarm was all about.

Aside from this, a large number of homes tend to neglect smoke detectors as well. They often don’t work because there are no batteries or they haven’t been replaced for a long time. Most homeowners, particularly the seniors, often missed testing their devices, too. The only time victims of fire were able to tell that they’re smoke detectors weren’t working was after the incidents.

Because of these factors, smoke detectors, on their own, might not be enough to help you out in case of fire. However, when partnered with proper maintenance and awareness, they can be one of the most indispensable fire safety tools you can get for your home. If you haven’t bought one for your home, then it’s probably high-time you reconsider your choices.

How to Properly Maintain Smoke Alarms

  • Smoke alarms are not one of those devices that you install today and forget about tomorrow. In fact, experts suggest that you replace them every 10 years. If you bought your home from someone else and you’re not sure how long its smoke alarms have been there, do not take any risks. Change them once you move in.
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly. Most devices have a “test” button which you can press to try if the alarm is working properly. If you feel that manual activation isn’t enough, you can try your system with a real candle smoke. To do this, simply light a candle up and put the flame out after a couple of seconds. Place the candle near your smoke alarm and direct the trail of smoke towards the device. A good smoke detector should signal an alarm right away.
  • Clean your detectors regularly. Because dust and small insects can get inside your devices, they can make your devices inaccurate.
  • Routinely change the batteries. Make sure you have a fresh set every year or as necessary.

Create an Effective Escape Plan for the Family

For everyone’s safety at home, it’s essential that you involve every member of the family in creating your escape or evaluation plan. Here are some of the important things you should consider:

  • A fire can consume most of your home in just 30 seconds. During a verified alarm, do not risk your safety by going back to secure your personal belongings.
  • When an alarm sounds, do not assume that your children will know what to do right away. This makes it important that you emphasize the escape plan to them as strongly as you can. It’s not wrong to rush to your children’s room during an emergency but you should also be open to what could happen if you can’t reach their room in time.
  • Everyone should be well oriented on what should be done during a fire. Teach them the basic fire escape principle of “Stay Low! Get Out! Stay Out”.
  • Memorize important contact numbers. You should know where to reach your local fire department.
  • Practice your fire escape plan. This helps make everything easier to recall.
  • Choose a meeting zone or safe spot outside where everyone should meet after evacuating your home. It’s essential that your children know where they should head to.
  • Invest in a safety ladder if your home has a second floor. However, for security purposes, keep the ladder away from where burglars or intruders can easily access them.
  • Your doors and windows from any barrier. While it’s a good idea to keep them locked against burglars, you should also consider how you can use these points when escaping from a fire. Security bars should be installed with caution.
  • Aside from smoke alarms, it’s also good if you can invest in a fire sprinkler system. It can help put out the fire before extensive damage is done.

How Many Smoke Alarms Should Your Home Have

It’s recommended that you have one smoke alarm in every room in your home. There should also be one smoke alarm on every floor. This means an extra detector if you have a basement.

It’s not necessary that you spend hundreds of dollars on a smoke alarm. In general, you can easily get one for around $20 and up. In choosing, however, it’s best if you can find a device that has both ionization and photoelectric technologies as they can make detection faster and more accurate.

Should You Invest in A Smoke Detector?

The direct answer is yes. Smoke alarms can really help save lives. However, for these devices to work effectively, you also need to do your part. Create an escape plan that’s easy to implement and increase your family’s awareness on how to prevent fire.

It can also help if you can subscribe to a fire monitoring service. While having an escape plan is recommended, you should also consider the times you’ll be away from home. With professional monitoring, you can have an extra peace of mind in knowing that someone skilled is keeping an eye at your home. Aside from detection, the monitoring station can also dispatch local authorities to quickly respond to your home’s emergency on your behalf. Our top rated home security system provides smoke and fire monitoring services that you may want to check out.

While this service can mean an extra amount of money, depending on your provider, the level of security you’ll get is actually incomparable. After all, there’s no amount of money that can equate to human lives, right?

How do you maintain your smoke alarms? Do you have an evacuation plan for your family? How do you make your kids aware?