Smoke alarms are quick to irritate; you’d be hard-pressed to find a kitchen connoisseur who hasn’t experienced fanning a shrieking alarm as it mistook good cooking for the premonition of a fire. A false alarm, if you will. It’s these sort of situations that devalue the smoke alarm, arguably the most important piece of fire equipment. One precariously placed candle or one forgotten turn of an oven switch, and it takes minutes for a fire to disseminate across the entirety of the house—leaving seconds to leave the home in burning shambles. It is as easy to remove the batteries of an alarm out of chagrin as it is for a house and family to be demolished.
If that alone is not enough to instill some fear in lack of smoke detectors, we can look at some unfortunate facts about smoke detector safety:
- Homeowners are legally obligated to have a smoke alarm, so most households do—yet it’s approximated that about a fifth of homes don’t have any working smoke alarms.
- Most people don’t know that smoke alarms need to be tested once a month, and the battery needs to be replaced twice a year—they need to be maintained to work optimally.
- About 60% of deaths occurring from house fires are in direct result of a non-working smoke alarm.
- A working fire alarm reduces the chance of dying in a house fire by 50%.
- There are forms of fire that emit odorless gas, and therefore can burn without being simply smelled. That’s where a detector would kick in.
- A single alarm for a multiple story home is not enough. The sensors pick up a lot, but not everything. One per floor is usually the recommended amount.
- A clogged or dirty smoke alarm is also at risk of not working. Make sure they are cleaned often.
- Fire prevention does not have very many active educational programs that would help break down the importance of a smoke alarm. There are many, many people who do not know of the harm caused by not having a smoke alarm, so simply by reading this, you are miles ahead.
Here are some not-so-unfortunate facts:
- You can purchase a smoke alarm for less than $10.
- If a place is rented, the owner or landlord is responsible for providing the smoke alarm and for the bi-yearly inspection.
- When cooking, smoke alarms can be muted to reduce inconvenience. The button is called a wide variety of things, but look for “mute”, “silence”, or “hush.”
- A photoelectric alarm, which is a tad more expensive, is less sensitive to steam coming from cooking or showers and more sensitive to slow moving fires, ensuring less nuisance and higher security.
- For those with hearing loss issues, there are smoke alarms that provide auditory aids, such as flashing lights or vibrations.
- Prominent areas of fire deaths are being targeted for potential legislation regarding the implementation of mandatory fire safety guidelines.
- Smoke alarms only need to be replaced once a decade, making them pretty affordable.
- There are many good values out there for alarms at good prices from reliable fire protection equipment companies in Los Angeles, CA, Mike Green Fire Protection being one.
Fire prevention can feel like a nuisance, and it may be difficult to ensure that all means of protection are implemented. In the schema of fire prevention, the most affordable and the easiest thing to do, however, is owning a working smoke alarm. A little nuisance is afforded when the matter in hand is life.