Smoke alarms are nearly a standard fixture in most homes and residential living areas. In fact they are required in communal living areas, like dorms and apartments. Considering their relative simplicity and low cost these devices are a practical first step in safeguarding your family and home.
Think about this: of the 3,000 deaths due to home fires each year, most victims die from smoke inhalation. What if you could keep your family safe for less than a $10 investment and the few seconds it takes you to test the detector’s battery each month?
Smoke alarms work on one simple premise: where there’s smoke, there’s fire. This is not true in every case, but the purpose of any smoke detector is to alert you to the possibility for fire well before your basic instincts have even kicked in.
Most smoke detectors are assembled from pretty basic components: plastic outer shell, an inner sensor, and battery compartment. Detectors come with two distinctly different types of sensors: photoelectric or ionizing.
The most common smoke detectors are those with ionization sensors. These are so effective at detecting even small traces of smoke that they are perfect companions for residential situations and save thousands of lives annually thanks to their tenacity and predictability. The small electronic voltage between two tiny metal plates is disrupted when even a small amount of smoke enters the ionization sensor. This triggers the detector’s loud alarm designed to be disruptive enough to wake even sound sleepers.
Smoke detectors today are available in a surprising array of retail stores, including hardware stores, pharmacies, and in many grocery stores and cost less than $10. Most may be quickly and easily mounted to a wall or ceiling with one or two screws or even two-sided adhesive tape. Install smoke detectors on each floor of your home and in close proximity to bedrooms. These devices are durable and quick to detect smoke in your home, however they only function when you make sure the battery works.
When you buy a smoke detector, make it a critical part of your home’s security plan. Proper maintenance includes: a monthly battery test and annual battery change. Simple safety and security.
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