NFPA offers smoke alarm recommendations

Thursday, October 4, 2018
Inspect and clean smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries in the spring and fall. 

Inspect and clean smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries in the spring and fall. 

Are there smoke alarms installed in all your home’s bedrooms? If the answer is “no,” then your home doesn’t meet the updated requirements for smoke alarm installation. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside all sleeping areas, and on every level of the home, including the basement.

Smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire. According to the nonprofit National Fire Pro- tection Association (NFPA), working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. Meanwhile, roughly two-thirds of all home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Essentially, there are two different types of smoke alarms: ionization and photoelectric. An ionization alarm is typically more responsive to a flaming fire, such as a pan fire. A photo- electric alarm is typically more responsive to a smoldering fire, as might occur where a lighted cigarette is dropped on a sofa. Combination smoke alarms have ionization and photoelectric capabilities. The NFPA recommends installing either combination alarms, or both types of alarms, in bedrooms, as well as throughout the home. Whatever type of smoke alarms you choose, make sure they are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.

Interconnected smoke alarms offer the best protection; when one sounds, they all do. A licensed electrician can install hard-wired multiple-station alarms, or homeowners can install wireless alarms, which manufacturers have more recently begun producing. This is particularly important in larger or multi-story homes, where the sound from distant smoke alarms may be reduced to the point that it may not be loud enough to provide proper warning, especially for sleeping individuals.

NFPA offers the following tips for making sure the smoke alarms in your home are maintained and working properly:

• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home.

• Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button, and make sure everyone in your home knows their sound.

• If an alarm “chirps,” warn- ing the battery is low, replace the battery right away.

• Replace all smoke alarms,

including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they’re ten years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.

Area residents with questions and/or concerns about the updated smoke alarm requirements may contact their local Volunteer Fire Department. They can also visit NFPA’s Web

site at HYPERLINK “http://

www.nfpa.org/smokealarms” www.nfpa.org/smokealarmsfor more information.

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