Smoke alarms – have you checked yours lately?

What you need to know about smoke alarms.

Smoke AlarmYou’re in your kitchen preparing a home cooked meal when suddenly the smoke alarm goes off. We are all familiar with its annoying sound, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, including the basement, and inside each sleeping area in order to detect a fire. Once you’ve installed them in your home, there are things you should be doing in order to make sure your smoke alarm is working properly.

Testing 1, 2, 3. Many people have nonworking smoke alarms and don’t know it because they haven’t tested them. Test your alarms at least once per month to be sure they are functioning properly. Since these devices are constantly working, they can’t last forever.

Location, location, location. Smoke rises, so smoke alarms should be installed high on the wall inside each sleeping area. However, carbon monoxide alarms can be placed inside or outside the sleeping area at any height since carbon monoxide spreads evenly throughout the air.

When to Replace. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, and carbon monoxide alarms should be replaced every five to seven years, depending on the model. You can write the installation date on the back of the alarm with a permanent marker as a helpful reminder. Overlooking this task is a common mistake in smoke alarm maintenance. Also, if you have battery-operated smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home, be sure you replace the batteries every six months. A good habit is to do this every spring and fall when the time changes.

Know the types. There are two different types of smoke alarms to choose from. An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. Flaming fires result from the ignition of items such as flammable liquids, wood or paper, cooking accidents, or from open flames such as candles that ignite other items. They produce large quantities of flames and lesser visible amounts of smoke. While smoldering fires most often occur when smoking materials, such as cigarettes, are left unattended. In general, they initially produce minimal amounts of flames and larger, visible amounts of smoke. For the best protection to help prevent a home fire, a combination of the two types of alarms is recommended to have installed in your home.

For more information, please visit www.FirstProtector.com.

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