In home fires, early warning is critical. So don’t wait until it’s too late.
Smoke alarms are one of the best and least expensive ways to provide early warning when a fire begins. When properly installed and maintained, smoke alarms can help prevent injuries and minimize property damage.
Know your types of smoke alarms
Battery Smoke Alarms
As the name suggests,battery smoke alarm runs on a battery. This can either be a 9v battery with a battery life of between 1-5 years or a 10-year lithium one. Lithium operated alarms are non-replaceable as the battery is sealed. However, as lithium batteries have a 10-year life span, the battery will unlikely need replacing for the entire duration of the alarm’s life.
Hard Wired Smoke Alarms
Hard wired smoke alarms are mains-powered and include a battery as a backup in case of a power failure. As it’s unlikely that both the power and battery will fail at the same time, hard wired smoke alarms offer an extremely reliable form of protection. Furthermore, because hardwired smoke alarms are connected to the power supply, they will sound indefinitely until they are turned off. This type of alarm is good for those who may not remember – or wish to – routinely check and replace batteries.
Installing Battery Smoke Alarms and Hard-Wired Alarms
Installing battery smoke alarms requires no technical skills. Alarms should be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, but in general battery alarms are quick and easy to install without the need for an electrician. The alarm is simply attached to the ceiling, the battery installed into the battery compartment, and it’s all set to provide reliable protection within minutes. As hard-wired alarms are connected to the mains power, installation should be carried out by a qualified electrician.
With this in mind, keeping your home safer is as simple as following a few tips.
Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home, in hallways, inside bedrooms and outside of sleeping areas. On average, families have less than three minutes from the time the first smoke alarm sounds to escape a fire. The sooner you hear an alarm, the more time you will have to get out.
Replace smoke alarms every 10 years. Alarms monitor the home every minute of every day and their lifespan is not infinite. If you don't know how old your alarm is, you should replace it.
Test your smoke alarm per manufacturer’s instructions and replace the batteries as needed.
Gently vacuum your smoke alarm monthly to prevent dirt from blocking the sensor.
Do not disable a smoke alarm in nuisance situations. Do not "borrow" smoke alarm batteries for other uses such as toys or radios.
Develop and practice a fire escape plan with the family, so that everyone knows what to do when the alarm sounds.