SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
Fire is a real and potentially deadly threat to any household. Smoke alarms are the easiest, most cost-efficient way to alert your family of a developing fire. The more smoke alarms you have installed in your home, the more you increase your chances of escaping to safety and surviving a fire. A residential home can be consumed in less than 5 minutes from the start of a fire, so every second counts! That's why the NFPA recommends that smoke alarms be installed on every level of the home - including the basement, outside every sleeping area and in every bedroom for extra protection.
However, not all fires are created equal and neither are smoke alarms. Learn the differences between ionization and photoelectric detection, as well as the benefits of installing combination units. Carbon monoxide- or CO detectors are just as vital; learn why you should not postpone installing these alarms in your home.
Ionization or Photoelectric Smoke Alarms?
In most cases, a fire can erupt quickly, producing a flaming, fast moving fire fueled by combustible materials. For this type of fire, an Ionization alarm works best.
Slow-starting, smoldering fires most often occur when smoking materials, such as cigarettes, are left unattended. These fires can smolder for hours - with no flames - yet producing large amounts of thick smoke, which can contain toxic chemicals. For this type of fire, a Photoelectric alarm will detect the smoke much more quickly than the ionization alarm will.
Although ionization smoke alarms are far more common in most homes today, the NFPA and nearly all state and local Fire Marshalls strongly recommend that both types of detection alarms be installed in your home for the best protection against all types of fire.
SECURE HOME can install dual Ionization AND Photoelectric combination alarms in your home for your protection and peace of mind, to alert you from all types of fires.
Battery Operated Alarms
Most homes built before 1989 were not required to have smoke alarms that were 'interconnected' or hardwired to the electrical system in the home. It is common to find stand alone battery operated (usually 9 volt) smoke alarms installed in these older homes, and they can readily be purchased new today in most home supply stores. These work fine, as long as you change out the batteries at least once a year- preferably twice a year. The problem is , many people DO NOT do this, rendering their smoke alarms useless.
According to the NFPA, 3 out of every 5 home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or non working smoke alarms. In the homes where smoke alarms were present but did not operate, 47% of these alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.
For this reason, many manufacturers are now making 10 year lithium battery alarms that need no replacement batteries, you simply replace the entire smoke alarm with a new one every ten years (which is the normal life span of all smoke alarms). These are a great 'worry free' option, and SECURE HOME carries various types of these smoke alarms.
Interconnected Alarms: Hardwired / Wireless
In 1989, newly constructed residential homes were required to have interconnected (hardwired) smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside the sleeping areas. With interconnected smoke alarms, all the smoke alarms will sound if any individual smoke alarm detects smoke. In 1993, the standard required the installation of hardwired smoke alarms inside bedrooms or sleeping areas. Smoke alarms were required in bedrooms to address the concern associated with sound level losses when occupants sleep with the bedroom doors closed.
More recently, new technology has enabled smoke alarms to 'go wireless', with the same great benefits of traditional hardwired alarms but without the costly expense of hiring an electrician to re-wire your home. These interconnected units are battery operated and use radio waves or the wi-fi signal in your home to 'communicate' with each other, so that when one alarm goes off, they all do, no matter where they are located in your home. Some models even give a voice warning, and allow you to program the alarm to a specific room in your home. For example, if a fire starts in the basement, then all the alarms will say "WARNING! FIRE IN THE BASEMENT!" and so on. This is a great way to know what escape route to follow so you aren't running toward the fire instead of away from it.
If you are interested in learning more about these wireless alarms, contact the SECURE HOME team today and we will be happy to answer all of your questions.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors
Carbon monoxide has sometimes been called 'the invisible killer', because it can't be seen, smelled or heard, and can be fatal if it goes undetected. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
The NFPA recommends that a CO detector be installed on every level of the home - including the basement, and outside every sleeping area, even in every bedroom for extra protection.