According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly two-thirds of U.S. household fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. If you live in one of the millions of homes without smoke alarms, learn how to avoid a preventable tragedy with the simple smoke detector.
Not all fire alarms are created equally, and fire prevention is not the area of home improvement to skimp on – cheaper usually means worse. While alarms can cost as little as $5 online, reduced prices lead to reduced security.
There are affordable, high-quality options for every price range, but it’s important to understand the different types of fire alarms before making a decision:
- Heat detectors: Sensors inside the unit signal an alarm when the temperature reaches a fixed point or when a specific increase in temperature occurs. These are best for fire detection in small spaces with the potential for rapidly burning fires, but they are generally not as good as smoke detectors for residential use and should not be used as the primary method of fire detection.
- Interconnected smoke alarms: These alarms are synchronized to all beep if one detects fire. Interconnected alarms are beneficial for larger homes if a resident could not hear an alarm in another area of the house – for example, a smoke alarm beeping in the basement when a family is sleeping two floors higher.
- Monitored smoke alarms: Fire detecting devices are connected to a central monitoring station to call the fire department in case of smoke detection. These alarms are helpful if a fire starts when the house is empty or when residents are sleeping and are unable to quickly call emergency responders.
After making a decision about the best smoke alarms for your family, follow these tips for best practices:
- Install smoke alarms on the ceiling or high on the wall, far away from pets and small hands.
- Place fire detectors on every level of the home, including the basement, and in hallways leading to bedrooms.
- Replace alarm batteries twice a year and replace the alarm unit every 10 years.
Start the process now by determining what your unique home needs are with SafeMart’s Personal Safety Advisor.