“Make Sure You Hear the Beep Where You Sleep”
That headline is the slogan for the National Fire Protection Week which is every October.
The aim this year is to get Americans to install smoke alarms on every level of their homes, outside each sleeping area, like the hallway, and inside each bedroom. “Most important is to be sure that you have alarms and that you have enough of them,” says Judy Comoletti, division manager in public education with the National Fire Protection Association.
Loads of statistics point to the effectiveness of these alarms. According to the association, some surveys indicate that the death rate can be more than twice as high in homes without working smoke alarms, compared to homes that had those alarms.
Here are some recommendations from the association on buying and installing these alarms:
- Two types of technology can be used in smoke alarms: ionization smoke detection is more responsive to flaming fires, and photoelectric smoke detection is more responsive to fires that smolder a long time before breaking into flames.
- You never know what type of fire will develop in your home, of course. The association recommends that you have both types of protection in your home. You don’t have to buy two different alarms for every room. You can buy combination alarms that use both technologies. Another solution, if you have all photoelectric alarms for example, is to buy one or two ionization alarms to use in some areas as well.
- The association also recommends that homeowners switch to interconnected smoke alarms, if possible. If you want them hardwired, that requires hiring an electrician and can be more costly. “But now there are even wireless interconnected alarms on the market that the homeowner can install themselves,” Comoletti says.
- Check regularly to make sure alarms are working. Press the TEST button. You also need to change all batteries in all alarms annually. Try doing that on New Year’s Day whether they need it or not. If New Year’s Day doesn’t work for you, pick some other key date.