When it comes to fire safety in your home, smoke alarms play an important role. The early warning that smoke alarms can provide in a fire can make a life-saving difference for your family, so ensuring their proper installation and maintenance is vital. Follow these tips to make sure the smoke alarms in your house are ready to warn you at the first sign of fire danger.
Place smoke alarms at least 3 feet from any heating and air conditioning vents.
Install a smoke alarm in each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on each level of the home, including the basement. If possible, interconnect them, so that if one alarm sounds, they all sound.
Install smoke alarms on a high wall or ceiling, because smoke rises.
Smoke alarms installed in the kitchen should be placed at least 10 feet away from cooking appliances.
Hard-wired alarms, powered through your home's electricity lines must be installed by a qualified electrician.
Ensure the smoke alarms you install have been approved by a recognized testing facility.
If someone in your home is deaf or hard of hearing, use a specialized smoke alarm. These devices can use vibrations or strobe lights to alert people who aren't able to be alarmed audibly.
Ionization smoke alarms are more responsive to flaming fires, whereas photoelectric smoke alarms are more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, use both types in combination, or use a dual-alarm sensor alarm, which uses both methods.
Test every alarm at least once a month using the test button.
Replace smoke alarms in your house at least every 10 years, and replace batteries in them at least once a year.
Always follow the manufacturer's recommendation, listed on smoke detectors' packaging for installation, placement, maintenance and replacement specifications.
Source: NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)