Provincial fire statistics indicate that in residential fires, 42 per cent of those homes did not have smoke alarms installed. In cases where smoke alarms were installed, only 36 per cent of the alarms are known to have been activated. As you can see, 36 per cent is pretty low since a house fire can become life-threatening within three minutes. The smoke alarm did not activate due to lack of a power source – no battery, dead battery, electrical supply off or disconnected. According to the experts, people who die in home fires often die from breathing in smoke and toxic gases emitted from fire.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Some suggestions include:
- Place smoke alarms on the ceiling in every bedroom and on every floor of your home. Adding a smoke alarm is easy; buy a battery operated alarm and install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Test all smoke alarms monthly with smoke.
- Place smoke alarms away from kitchens, bathrooms and air vents. When your smoke alarm is activated without the presence of smoke or fire, it is called a ‘nuisance alarm’. This may happen because the smoke alarm needs to be cleaned or is too close to appliances which release smoke or steam. Consider moving your smoke alarm further away from your kitchen or bathroom. Do not deactivate or remove the batteries from the alarm. Working smoke alarms save lives.
- Change batteries twice a year (recommended when you change your clocks).
Proper installation of a smoke alarms is very important as well. Smoke alarms should be installed on a wall or ceiling only, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It must be a minimum of 10 cm (4″) away from the wall and a minimum of 6 metres (20 feet) from any heat producing appliances such as stove and fireplaces.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) warns that all smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years.
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