Smoke Alarms and Detectors
Smoke detectors are devices that automatically sound a warning when they sense smoke or other products of combustion. They are usually mounted on a wall or the ceiling. When people are warned early enough about a fire, they can escape before it spreads. You can purchase one starting at $6.
Every year house fires kill thousands. Fire kills an estimated 4,000 Americans every year. Another 30,000 people are seriously injured by fire each year. Property damage from fire costs us at least $11.2 billion yearly. Most fire victims feel that fire would “never happen to them.”
Although we like to feel safe at home, about two-thirds of our nation’s fire deaths happen in the victim’s own home. The home is where we are at the greatest risk and where we must take the most precautions. Most deaths occur from inhaling smoke or poisonous gases, not from the flames.
Most fatal fires occur in residential buildings between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. when occupants are most likely asleep. Over 90 percent of fire deaths in buildings occur in residential dwellings.
A Johns Hopkins University study, funded by the United States Fire Administration, found that 75 percent of residential fire deaths and 84 percent of residential fire injuries could have been prevented by smoke detectors.
There are two basic types of smoke detectors:
Smoke Detector Quick Tips
When choosing a smoke detector, there are several things to consider. Think about which areas of the house you want to protect, where fire would be most dangerous, how many you will need, etc.
The National Fire Protection Agency recommends that every home have a smoke detector outside each sleeping area (inside as well if members of the household sleep with the door closed) and on every level of the home, including the basement. The National Fire Alarm code requires a smoke detector inside each sleeping area for new construction. On floors without bedrooms, detectors should be installed in or near living areas, such as dens, living rooms or family rooms. Smoke detectors are not recommended for kitchens.