Smoke Detectors, Real Protectors
A working smoke detector will more than double your chances of escaping a fire.
DID YOU KNOW?
More than half of all fatal fires happen at night, between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Smoke kills more people than flames. A lot more. Poisonous gases released by fire actually put people into a deeper sleep and many suffocate without being aware of the fire.
You are more likely to die of a fire in your own home than anywhere.
80 percent of fatal home fires occur in residences without a working smoke detector.
The smell of smoke may not awaken a sleeping person. Smoke detectors have been credited with saving so many lives that most states have laws requiring them.
There is no time to waste! Flames can consume an entire home in just minutes. This makes the smoke detector even more valuable.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT DETECTOR
There are now many smoke detectors available for under $20. Several are as inexpensive as 6 or 7 dollars.
Consider a detector that is electrically powered and features a battery back up.
There are detectors that have additional features such as an escape light.
Look for one that has been tested by an independent laboratory, such as the familiar Underwriters Laboratory. (UL)
INSTALLING THE DETECTOR
Always follow the manufacturers instructions.
Never install the detector too close to an air vent as the smoke could be blown away from the detector and cause a delayed alarm.
As a minimum, install smoke detectors outside of sleeping areas and on each level of the home.
Mount detectors at least 6 inches from the ceiling, and about 3 feet from a corner.
Avoid placing detectors too close to kitchens or where steam from bathrooms could cause a false alarm.
For even more protection, mount a detector in every bedroom.
MAINTAINING THE DETECTOR
Test every detector at least once a month.
If so equipped, change the battery at least once a year. A program like "Change your clock, Change your battery" works well.
Occasional vacuuming of the detector will reduce dust build up and spider webs that may reduce the sensitivity.
Recent findings tell us that detectors may begin to lose their effectiveness after ten years of service. Consider replacing an old detector.