Don’t Get Burned: Check Your Smoke Detectors!

This probably isn’t the most original topic for a blog.  My guess is there are more than a few blogs out there about smoke detectors.  So why write one?

First, let me tell you a little bit about myself.  I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Safety.  I have worked as a Loss Control Consultant/Specialist for an insurance company for over 25 years.  My job involves inspecting buildings and operations to identify hazards (fire hazards, job safety hazards, etc.).  I write reports about the hazards identified during the inspections and make recommendations to eliminate or reduce those hazards.  My point is, I think about safety a lot.

Recently, a house one block away from my home caught fire.  The fire was intense and the fire department was unable to save the house.  The fire happened in the middle of the night but fortunately everyone in the house made it out unharmed.  My wife and I both said, “thank goodness they had smoke detectors.”

This brings me to the main reason for this topic.  As my wife and I discussed the recent fire and how the smoke detectors probably saved people’s lives, we both realized our smoke detectors were not installed.  We moved into a new house in the fall of 2011.  We had to do some remodeling in order to move in (tear out/replace carpet, scrub/prime/paint walls and ceilings, etc.).  We were on a tight time table and all of the work and moving had to be completed in two weeks.  The smoke detectors were taken down prior to painting and, in all of the hustle and bustle of working and moving, were never put back up.  I’m happy to report I have corrected the problem.  Brand new smoke detectors are now in place throughout the house.

So, when was the last time you checked your smoke alarms?  Maybe, as in my case, they were taken down the last time you painted, or maybe the detector kept going off when you were cooking and the battery was removed to “fix“ it.  Do you remember the last time you checked and/or replaced the batteries?  How old are they?  The main point is, it’s easy to forget about your smoke detectors.  As I said above, I think about safety every day and I still forgot about them.  Please, take a few minutes to check your smoke detectors.  The National Fire Protection Association offers the following tips:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Smoke rises so install smoke alarms according to manufacturer’s instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling.
  • Test alarms monthly using the “Test” button.
  • Replace batteries at least annually.  If an alarm “chirps” a low battery warning, replace the battery ASAP.
  • Replace smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly.

How does your family remember to check your smoke detectors?  Do you have any hints or tips you can share?

7 Comments on “Don’t Get Burned: Check Your Smoke Detectors!

  1. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% sure. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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  2. Smoke alarms are always necessary when you want to make your home very secure against fire. Personally, i prefer to use ionization smoke detectors because they are cheaper and are always available in any hardware store on the mall. ‘,;`; Kind regards supplements site

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    • You are correct, the ionizing detectors are usually cheaper and can be found at most local hardware stores.

      There are generally two types of detectors. Ionizing detectors are better at detecting smaller amounts of smoke and are best at detecting flaming fires (and usually the least expnsive). Photoelectric detectors are better at detecting smoldering fires. Both will work in a home and will provide a good level of protection. Since we can’t predict what type of fire will occur the best protection would be provided by a combination of both types, but that is more expensive.

      I have ionizing detectors in my home. I think the important thing is people realize how important smoke detectors are in the home and install them.

      Thanks for the comment. Keep safe.

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  3. A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the only thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you’re awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert, scanning the air for fire and smoke.`

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  4. Absolutely. If we install them and do a little maintenance (change the batteries) they do thier job 24/7.

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