It’s no secret that fires can be dangerous and devastating. That is why we bring our message of fire safety to the public all year long, starting with the smallest of our citizens…..your children.
One of the first things we teach is the importance of having actual working smoke detectors in your homes. Next, we stress that everyone must know how to properly react when the detector activates.
Because these detectors are sensitive, they can often pick up smoke in the air before we can see it or smell it. Like other products, there is more than one kind. So please read below to find out more information.
We can not emphasize enough, how important it is for our citizens to do their part to ensure their own safety and the safety of their family (including pets), by having working smoke detectors so everyone can “get out alive.”
SMOKE DETECTOR TYPES:
Ionization Smoke Detectors
- In ionization smoke detectors, a chamber contains two plates that generate an electric current. If smoke interrupts that current, an alarm sounds. These tend to respond more rapidly in cases of high flames.
Photoelectric Smoke Detectors
- Photoelectric smoke detectors incorporate a light beam that shines into a receptor inside the devices. If smoke interrupts the beam in any way, the alarm sounds. These respond quickest to long smoldering fires.
Using Both is Best
- Some smoke alarms contain both photoelectric and ionization technology. While research shows either type of smoke alarm provides potentially life-saving warnings, the National Fire Protection Association recommends combining both types of detectors in the home.
Hard-wired Vs. Battery Powered
All new construction is now required to have hard wired smoke detectors
- Many new-construction builders hard-wire smoke detectors into the electrical systems of homes and businesses. But be sure to install batteries in these detectors for backup in case of power outages. A smoke detector without juice will save no lives.
Care and Maintenance
- Regardless of the type of smoke detector, regular testing is key to ensuring the devices are in good working order. Once a month, make sure the batteries have power and that audio systems are functioning by pressing the test button on the face of the detector. When pressing and holding the buttons on most types for a couple of seconds, the smoke alarm should sound until you remove your finger. Follow the manufacturers' recommendations for the frequency with which batteries--and sometimes the detectors themselves--should be changed.
Both Types Can Save Lives
- National Fire Protection Association statistics show the death rate for every 100 reported fires is more than twice as high in homes without smoke detectors than in dwellings equipped with the devices. Smoke detectors provide the warning people need to clear out of buildings before flames and smoke become so intense that escape becomes impossible. So any type of smoke detector is the right type to have in your home.
There is no single solution to deal with kitchen nuisance alarms. Neither type of detector was demonstrably better in reducing nuisance alarms. Relocating an alarm further from cooking appliances, while still providing proper area coverage, may be appropriate.