As Fire Prevention Week NORTH AMERICA comes to a stop for another year and we are tired of hearing fire this fire that or do this or that, think about what you are saying and it is not if a fire may occur in your home the key is when! Smoke detectors save lives. It is important to put smoke detectors in the right places in your home. You should also test them regularly to make sure that they work properly. You can minimize your family’s risk of fire-related injury or death by installing the right number of smoke detectors in the right places in your home, and by keeping them all in good working order. And INSPECTIONS are just as critical at work as they are at HOME!
IT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO MOUNT IT ON THE CEILING OR ROOF AND FORGET ABOUT IT OR TEST IT WHEN YOU BURN DINNER!
And yes I’m sure some folks in life could not organize a parade to the outhouse without instructions some days like the ones that come with your smoke detector. But PROPER instructions and procedure just like at work are critical in DOING IT RIGHT to SAVE YOUR LIFE! The National Fire Protection Association’s Standard 72 provides the following information: Smoke Detection. Where required by applicable laws, codes, or standards for the specified occupancy, approved single and multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed as follows: (1) In all sleeping rooms Exception: Smoke alarms shall not be required in sleeping rooms in existing one- and two-family dwelling units. (2) Outside of each separate sleeping area, in immediate vicinity of the sleeping rooms. (3) On each level of the dwelling unit, including basements Exception: In existing one- and two-family dwelling units, approved smoke alarms powered by batteries are permitted.
Most fatal fires occur at night when people are asleep. Often, victims never wake up. A working smoke alarm will detect smoke and sound an alarm to alert you, giving you precious time to escape. Every home must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas
It is the responsibility of homeowners to install and maintain smoke alarms on every storey of their home and outside sleeping areas.
It is the responsibility of landlords to ensure their rental properties comply with the law.
If you are a tenant of a rental property and do not have the required number of smoke alarms, contact your landlord immediately. It is against the law for tenants to remove the batteries or tamper with the alarm in any way.
The INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS clearly state: Thank you for purchasing this smoke alarm. It is an important part of your family’s home safety plan. You can trust this product to provide the highest quality safety protection. We know you expect nothing less when the lives of your family are at stake. Please take a few minutes to thoroughly read this alarm manual, and save it for future reference. Teach children how to respond to the alarms, and that they should never play with the unit.
Choose the right alarms
There are smoke alarms available with different features and applications, so choosing the right alarm can be confusing. Some of the features to consider include:
- Power Source: Smoke alarms can be electrically powered, battery powered, or a combination of both. If you are installing an electrically powered alarm it is recommended that it have a battery back-up in case of power failures.
- Technology: most smoke alarms employ either ionization or photo-electric technology. Ionization alarms may respond slightly faster to flaming-type fires, while photo-electric alarms may be quicker at detecting slow, smouldering fires.
- Pause feature: Smoke alarms with a pause button are highly recommended as it permits the alarm to be temporarily silenced without disconnecting the power source.
Replacement of Smoke Alarms Smoke alarms should be replaced if: (a) The smoke alarm does not sound an alarm during the test (after it is confirmed that the battery is fully charged or the AC power supply is not disconnected). (b) The exterior of the case is physically damaged. (c) The exterior case is painted. (d) The unit is covered with smoke stains, heavy grease or dirt accumulations. (e) The smoke alarm causes frequent false alarms that are not the result of cooking or steam. (f) Batteries show evidence of leakage or corrosion. (g) The smoke alarm is more than 10 years old or has exceeded the manufacturer’s recommended life cycle.
Recommended Locations • Locate the first alarm in the immediate area of the bedrooms. Try to monitor the exit path, as the bedrooms are usually farthest from the exit. If more than one sleeping area exists, locate additional alarms in each sleeping area • Locate additional alarms to monitor any stairway as stairways act like chimneys for smoke and heat. • Locate at least one alarm on every floor level. • Locate an alarm in every Sleeping Room. • Locate an alarm in every room where electrical appliances are operated (i.e. portable heaters or humidifiers). • Locate an alarm in every room where someone sleeps with the door closed. The closed door may prevent an alarm not located in that room from waking the sleeper. • Smoke, heat, and combustion products rise to the ceiling and spread horizontally. Mounting the smoke alarm on the ceiling in the center of the room places it closest to all points in the room. Ceiling mounting is preferred in ordinary residential construction. • When mounting an alarm on the ceiling, locate it at a minimum of 10 cm (4″) from the side wall • When mounting the alarm on the wall, use an inside wall with the top edge of the alarm at a minimum of 10 cm (4″) and a maximum of 30.5 cm (12″) below the ceiling. • Put smoke alarms at both ends of a bedroom hallway or large room if the hallway or room is more than 9.1 m (30′) long. • For mobile home installation, select locations carefully to avoid thermal barriers that may form at the ceiling. For more details.
Install smoke alarms on sloped, peaked or cathedral ceilings at or within 0.9 m (3′) of the highest point (measured horizontally). NFPA Standard 72 states: “Smoke alarms in rooms with ceiling slopes greater than 0.3 m in 2.4 m (1 foot in 8 feet) horizontally shall be located on the high side of the room.” NFPA Standard 72 states: “A row of detectors shall be spaced and located within 0.9 m (3′) of the peak of the ceiling measured horizontally”
Locations to Avoid • Do not install within 0.9 m (3′) of the following: The door to a kitchen, or a bathroom that contains a tub or shower, forced air supply ducts used for heating or cooling, ceiling or whole house ventilating fans, or other high air-flow areas. • Do not place the alarm where drapes or other objects will block the sensor. Smoke must be able to reach the sensor to accurately detect conditions. • Do not install in peaks of vaulted ceilings, “A” frame ceilings or gabled roofs. (Less than 10 cm (4″) from the peak of an “A” frame type ceiling.) • Install at least 30.5 cm (12″) away from fluorescent lights as electronic noise may cause nuisance alarms. • Keep out of insect infested areas. Avoid excessively dusty, dirty or greasy areas. Dust particles may cause nuisance alarms or failure to alarm. • Extreme temperatures may effect the sensitivity of the alarm. Do not install in areas where the temperature is colder than 4.4°C (40°F) or hotter than 37.8°C (100°F), such as garages and unfinished attics. • Do not install in areas where the relative humidity (RH) is greater than 85%. Very humid areas, with moisture or steam, can cause nuisance alarms. • Avoid placing ionization smoke alarms in kitchen areas. Normal cooking may cause nuisance alarms. If a kitchen alarm is desired, it should have an alarm silence feature or be a photoelectric type. • Do not place in the garage. Particles of combustion are present when you start your automobile. • Smoke alarms are not to be used with detector guards unless the combination (alarm and guard) has been evaluated and found suitable for that purpose.
Modern mobile homes have been designed to be energy efficient. Install smoke alarms as recommended in Recommended Locations. In older mobile homes that are not well insulated compared to present standards, extreme heat or cold can be transferred from the outside to the inside through poorly insulated walls and roof. This may create a thermal barrier that can prevent the smoke from reaching an alarm mounted on the ceiling. In such units, install the smoke alarm on an inside wall with the top edge of the alarm at a minimum of 10 cm (4″) and a maximum of 30.5 cm (12″) below the ceiling . If you are not sure about the insulation in your mobile home, or if you notice that the outer walls and ceiling are either hot or cold, install the alarm on an inside wall. For minimum protection, install at least one alarm close to the bedrooms.
Test by pushing the Test button on the cover and hold it down for a minimum of 5 seconds. This will sound the alarm if all the electronic circuitry, horn and battery are working. If no alarm sounds, check the fuse or circuit breaker supplying power to the alarm circuit. If the alarm still does not sound, the unit has a defective battery or some other failure. DO NOT use an open flame to test your alarm, you could damage the alarm or ignite combustible materials and start a fire. Test the alarm weekly to ensure proper operation. Erratic or low sound coming from your alarm may indicate a defective alarm, and it should be returned for service. Alarms failing an alarm test, or not operating normally, must be replaced with a new alarm. Similarly, alarms more than 10 years old must be replaced.
WARNING: Please read carefully and thoroughly. • NFPA 72 states: Life safety from fire in residential occupancies is based primarily on early notification to occupants of the need to escape, followed by the appropriate egress actions by those occupants. Fire warning systems for dwelling units are capable of protecting about half of the occupants in potentially fatal fires. Victims are often intimate with the fire, too old or young, or physically or mentally impaired such that they cannot escape even when warned early enough that escape should be possible. For these people, other strategies such as protection-in-place or assisted escape or rescue are necessary. • Smoke alarms are devices that can provide early warning of possible fires at a reasonable cost; however, alarms have sensing limitations. Ionization sensing alarms may detect invisible fire particles (associated with fast flaming fires) sooner than photoelectric alarms. Photoelectric sensing alarms may detect visible fire particles (associated with slow smoldering fires) sooner than ionization alarms. Home fires develop in different ways and are often unpredictable. For maximum protection, Kidde recommends that both Ionization and Photoelectric alarms be installed. • A battery powered alarm must have a battery of the specified type, in good condition and installed properly. • AC powered alarms (without battery backup) will not operate if the AC power has been cut off, such as by an electrical fire or an open fuse. • Smoke alarms must be tested regularly to make sure the batteries and the alarm circuits are in good operating condition. • Smoke alarms cannot provide an alarm if smoke does not reach the alarm. Therefore, smoke alarms may not sense fires starting in chimneys, walls, on roofs, on the other side of a closed door or on a different floor. • If the alarm is located outside the bedroom or on a different floor, it may not wake up a sound sleeper
Test smoke alarms monthly
Test your smoke alarms every month by using the test button on the alarm. When the test button is pressed, the alarm should sound. If it fails to sound, make sure that the battery is installed correctly or install a new battery. If the alarm still fails to sound, replace the smoke alarm with a new one.
Change the batteries every year
Install a new battery at least once a year, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Install a new battery if the low-battery warning sounds or if the alarm fails to sound when tested.
Vacuum alarms annually
Dust can clog your smoke alarms. Battery-powered smoke alarms should be cleaned by opening the cover of the alarm and gently vacuuming the inside with a soft bristle brush.
For electrically-connected smoke alarms, first shut off the power to the unit, and then gently vacuum the outside vents of the alarm only. Turn the power back on and test the alarm.
Handle nuisance alarms
Steam from the shower or cooking in the oven, stove or toaster can cause smoke alarms to activate. If these types of nuisance alarms occur, do not remove the battery. There are several options you can try to reduce nuisance alarms.
- Relocate the alarm. Sometimes moving the alarm just a few inches can make the difference.
- Install a smoke alarm with a pause button that will allow you to temporarily silence the alarm.
- Replace alarms located near kitchens with photo-electric types.
It tells you if there is SMOKE but you still need a ERP or Home ERP PLAN!!!!
Develop and practice a plan of escape! • Install and maintain fire extinguishers on every level of the home and in the kitchen, basement and garage. Know how to use the fire extinguisher prior to an emergency. • Make a floor plan indicating all doors and windows and at least two (2) escape routes from each room. Second storey windows may need an escape ladder. • Have a family meeting and discuss your escape plan, showing everyone what to do in case of fire. • Determine a place outside your home where you all can meet if a fire occurs. • Familiarize everyone with the sound of the smoke alarm and train them to leave your home when they hear it. • Practice a fire drill at least every six months, including fire drills at night. Ensure that small children hear the alarm and wake when it sounds. They must wake up in order to execute the escape plan. Practice allows all occupants to test your plan before an emergency. You may not be able to reach your children. It is important they know what to do. • Current studies have shown smoke alarms may not awaken all sleeping individuals, and that it is the responsibility of individuals in the household that are capable of assisting others to provide assistance to those who may not be awakened by the alarm sound, or to those who may be incapable of safely evacuating the area unassisted.
Alarm Exit Procedure • Leave immediately by your escape plan. Every second counts, so don’t waste time getting dressed or picking up valuables. • In leaving, don’t open any inside door without first feeling its surface. If hot, or if you see smoke seeping through cracks, don’t open that door! Instead, use your alternate exit. If the inside of the door is cool, place your shoulder against it, open it slightly and be ready to slam it shut if heat and smoke rush in. • Stay close to the floor if the air is smokey. If possible do not breathe too deeply to avoid smoke inhalation. Breathe through a cloth (preferably wet) if possible. • Once outside, go to your selected meeting place and make sure everyone is there. • Call the fire department from your neighbor’s home – not from yours! • Don’t return to your home until the fire officials say that it is all right to do so. • There are situations where a smoke alarm may not be effective to protect against fire. For instance: – Smoking in bed. – Leaving children unsupervised. – Cleaning with flammable liquids, such as gasoline. – Fires where the victim is intimate with a flaming initiated fire; for example, when a person’s clothes catch fire while cooking. – Fires where the smoke is prevented from reaching the detector due to a closed door or other obstruction. – Incendiary fires where the fire grows so rapidly that an occupant’s egress is blocked even with properly located detectors