Although it is not always true that when there’s smoke, there’s fire, smoke usually signifies some kind of danger. Smoke, by itself, is already an alarm. It alarms us to the possibility of fires and dangerous gas leakages. That is why colorless gas leakages are often fatal because they are not accompanied by smoke as a warning. Not many of us realize the importance of smoke alarms. Some of us see it as unnecessary addition to our household expenditures. Millions of property has been damage every year, many people have been injured and some instances of fires even caused deaths. Most of this home fires resulted from fires in properties without a working smoke alarm.
Installing smoke alarms will serve as an early warning device in the event of fire. Nowadays, smoke alarms are no longer too expensive. These devices are now affordable and are available at nearly all hardware and department stores. A lot of different brands and different systems or devices are now available in the market. A consumer would just need to decide which one is best suited to his or her home or the property he or she wants to protect.
So as we make a decision to install a smoke alarm device or system, we should also be fully educated on how to install, use and maintain it:
• Place a smoke alarm in every key area of your home including basement and outside bedrooms: Fires usually starts from the kitchen, but there are some instances when fires start from the basement or an empty room, thus the start and spreading of the fire gets unnoticed unless the house, particularly the room, has working smoke alarms.
• Test your smoke alarm at least once a month by pushing the test button and listen to the beep. Like any other appliances in our house, a smoke alarm device or system needs to get tested every now and then to make sure that they are properly working.
• If you have a battery powered device, replace the batteries at least once a year. The alarms that are hard-wired (and include battery backup) must be installed by a qualified electrician.
• Do not disable the alarm while cooking. You can turn on the range fan, open a window or wave a towel near the alarm. The comforting thought that the alarm is working as it should outweighs the nuisance caused by the its going off.
• The entire smoke alarm unit should be replaced every 8-10 years. Nothing lasts forever, even if unused, and a smoke alarm device or system is no different.
• Practice a fire escape plan. A smoke alarm, as the name implies, alarms us to the possibility of impending danger so that we can save our property and escape with our lives. It is the start of your safety plan, not your whole safety plan. Thus, make sure that if ever the alarm goes off and there’s an actual danger, you have a clear fire escape plan to follow which every member of your family is aware of.