Last night I was reading the Local section of the Sun News and noticed are article about a family that was saved in a Christmas free fire. The first paragraph read:
Horry County fire crews said a working smoke detector saved a Conway area family from their burning home early Thursday.
Did you know that more than four thousand people in this country lose their lives every year in house fires? The sad truth is that the majority of these deaths could have been avoided. The one factor that saves more lives than any other is smoke detectors and their proper installation and maintenance.
Home Security Pros Myrtle Beach would like to educate consumers on how to protect themselves with some easy and simple tips for smoke detectors.
Tip #1 – Do you have smoke detectors in all the places they need to be?
Smoke detectors should be installed in every staircase, your kitchen, every bedroom and every hallway. As a minimum, you should have a smoke detector on every floor of your home.
Tip #2 – Replace the batteries in smoke detectors on a semi-annual basis
Fortunately, newer homes are being built with the smoke detectors hard wired into the electric system. This is a feature that can be added to your current home by a licensed electrician. However, most homes still use smoke detectors that run on either a 9 volt alkaline battery or a carbon-zinc battery.
You have probably heard that chirping sound that comes from the alarm designating that it is time to replace the battery. Titan Technologies recommends that you be pro-active and change your batteries before you hear the birds singing. Studies have shown that upwards of 20% of smoke alarms have dead batteries which makes them useless. Get in the habit of testing your smoke detectors every month to ensure they are in good working order. The family in Conway are thankful today they had working smoke detectors.
Tip #3 – Check to make sure your smoke detectors are installed in the right position.
Because smoke rises, smoke alarms should always be installed either on the ceiling or the upper portion of the wall. Here are some other tips on the placement of the smoke detectors:
- They should be a minimum of four inches away from a wall. When smoke detectors are placed in a small or confined space they are more likely to fail. Make sure they are placed away from joints or corners.
- If the detector is placed on the wall, it should be twelve inches from the ceiling. Check to make sure that you are avoiding corners.
- Take a look at the detector in your kitchen. Is it at least 20 feet away from any appliance that produces heat such as stoves, ovens or fireplaces? The primary concern with the appliance is not that it will set off the alarm but the heat that will damage your electronics causing the alarm not to work properly.
- Install smoke detectors away from doors, windows, vents or anything that will cause a draft. The effectiveness of your smoke detectors will be decreased by a draft.
Tip #4 – Install Dual-Sensor Smoke Detectors
There are two types of house fires – smoldering fires and flaming fires. Many alarms are installed to detect only one type of fire. Make sure that when you install a smoke detection system that you have a dual sensing alarm. This is one reason that you should hire a professional to install your smoke alarm system and not leave it to chance.
Tip #5 – Replace smoke detectors every ten years
The National Fire Protection Agency recommends that you replace your smoke detectors a minimum of once every 10 years. Unfortunately, all electrical devices will fail eventually. In addition, there have been improvements in smoke alarms that will help to save your family in the event of a fire.
Tip #6 – Smoke detectors need to be maintained
We have already covered this topic in tip 2, however, there are things you need to do beyond changing the battery. Clean your smoke detectors when you are changing the battery. Make sure there are not warped or rusted parts from the heat. Here in Myrtle Beach we have very high humidity and this can damage your smoke alarms. If you are a part-time resident and you keep your thermostat high in the summer when you are away, you will want to inspect your detectors when you return.
Periodically you will want to wipe out the dust and other debris inside the smoke detectors. Resist the urge to paint your smoke alarm to match your walls. Paint will cover the sensors and prevent the alarm from working properly.
If your alarm is missing its cover, be sure and find a replacement. The cover protects the electronics in the alarm from being exposed to dust and humidity in your home which will cause them to break down.
Tip #7 Consider hard wiring your smoke detectors
You may have heard about the family in New York state that wasn’t as fortunate as the family in Conway. Fires start in one area and can spread out of control very quickly. By interconnecting your smoke detectors, one smoke alarm will detect the fire and sound the alarm throughout the system. This will give your family the extra time they need to vacate the premises.
Smoke alarm systems can also be connected to a monitoring system that will dispatch the local fire department for you. This will not only save time but could also save property.
Make sure that every family member knows where they are to meet when they have evacuated the home. You don’t want to spend precious time looking for a child or spouse that has already reached safety.
Home Security Pros Myrtle Beach would love to help you do a complete inspection of your home to ensure that that the smoke detectors are working and your family will be properly warned in the case of a fire.
Call us today from a complimentary inspection and recommendation on your smoke detectors.
Home Security Pros Myrtle Beach
5335 N. Kings Hwy #211C
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577