Smoke Alarm Facts That Will Keep You Safe
A number of fire incidents recorded in Australia could have been prevented, most of the causes were avoidable such as smoking, burning candles, faulty wirings and overheating of appliances. This is why fire safety should be strictly implemented at all costs. Fire protection equipment should be installed in the household or business establishment with adequate fire safety training of occupants and workers.
Among these fire safety equipment is the smoke alarm. Smoke alarms detect most fires more rapidly than heat detectors. Smoke alarm not only saves lives but could save your property from serious damage. Working smoke alarms have reportedly cut the risk of dying in home fires in almost half. This highlights the importance of understanding how this system works and its proper maintenance.
There are a few smoke alarm facts that should not be taken for granted and must be understood fully. These will help business and building owners maintain a safe environment to the occupants and functioning fire protection system.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ALARMS
There are three types of smoke alarms available in the market: ionization, photoelectric and combination ionization/photoelectric.
An ionization smoke alarm has a small amount of radioactive material. This radiation passes through an air-filled space between two electrodes called ionization chamber and allows a small, constant current between the electrodes. This type of alarm detects fast raging fires best.
The photoelectric smoke alarm operates using a light source. There is a light-sensing chamber inside the alarm; an LED light shoots a beam of light across the chamber. When smoke enters the chamber, it deflects the LED light from the straight path into a photosensor in a different compartment inside the chamber causing the alarm to set off. This works best on a slow smoldering fire.
A combination of smoke alarm features both photoelectric and ionization technologies. Using both technologies is advantageous in protecting the household.
It is also important to know whether a manual or automatic smoke alarm is installed in the building. The three smoke alarms mentioned earlier are automatic smoke alarms; they set off immediately once they detect smoke or heat in the room. On the other hand the manual alarm, a lever must be pulled for it to sound.
REGULAR MAINTENANCE IS IMPORTANT
Regular maintenance is needed to ensure the condition of the system is optimal. The smoke alarm must be clean and clear of any dust and debris at all times. It is best to have a fire protection company to do this for you. You may visit FCF to inspect, test and keep track of your alarms and system.
ROUTINE TESTING IS ESSENTIAL
Aside from maintaining its physical cleanliness, it is also crucial to have a routine test to know if the alarms are working properly. Plan to test your alarms about once a month. Press down on the test button for a couple of seconds, if the alarm doesn't make a loud, clear noise, then battery replacement may be needed or have a professional inspect it.
THE BATTERIES NEED CHANGING
Smoke alarms also vary with their power source. 9-volt battery-powered smoke alarms are low cost, but the batteries are replaced regularly. A 120 volt with long life 10-year rated lithium battery is also available. This may require a battery backup in case of power outages. It is recommended to have the batteries replaced at least once a year on battery-equipped units and a monthly detector test to ensure it will work in case of an emergency.
INTERCONNECT SMOKE ALARMS
An interconnected smoke alarm system allows all smoke alarms to be linked together. If one goes off, the rest will set off as well. This feature is especially important in multi-story homes and buildings.
Regardless of the type of detector or alarm is installed proper placement and maintenance of the device should be observed. All manufacturer's instructions for placement, testing and maintenance must have strictly adhered.
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FIRE PROTECTION SERVICES TODAY
FCF is a fire protection company that offers services throughout Australia. We install, inspect and repair your fire protection system to ensure the safety of your building. Keep your building fully protected with us. We offer 24/7 emergency services in case of an emergent situation. Fire Safety Australia is our number one priority.