Investigations into home fire deaths all too often indicate that a smoke alarm did not sound. Do all you can to avoid this potential fate
We’ve all heard the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This is especially true when it comes to fire safety within your home. We can do more to minimize potential exposure to injury and damage due to fire in our homes.
Smoke Detectors/Fire Alarms
According to the Canada Safety Council, smoke alarms save lives. Investigations into home fire deaths all too often indicate that a smoke alarm did not sound. Whether it had been disconnected, was not in working order, had dead/removed batteries or was never in place – the specific reasons vary. There is no time like the present to make sure that your alarms are all properly installed, maintained, located, tested and have battery power/electric power (as applicable). A fire alarm that is not working is worse than not having one.
The Canadian Safety Council advises:
- Have a fire alarm on every level of your home
- Single level homes/condos/apartments should have fire alarms near the kitchen and all sleeping areas
- Test your fire alarms monthly by pushing the test button. It’s easy enough to set up a recurring monthly reminder for yourself on your smart phone to do this
- If it’s battery powered and does not sound when you test, replace the batteries and test again. Remember not to use rechargeable batteries
- If it’s electrically connected to household circuits and does not sound when tested, check the fuse and test again
- If your test fails, replace the entire unit
- Be sure to investigate any false alarms
- Replace your alarms every five years
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning your smoke detectors
- Make sure everyone in your home knows what the fire alarm sounds like and what to do in the event it goes off
- Have two ways out of every room and have a pre-arranged meeting place outside
- Practice your home fire escape plan regularly. Too many people have never practiced or discussed this
- In the event of an actual fire, evacuate immediately and have someone call the Fire Department. Never go back into your home, until the Fire Department says it’s safe
- Depending on what is fueling the fire - they can burn very differently. Fires from cooking fat, grease, flammable liquids, newspapers, paint and cleaning solutions can burn quickly and cause more flames than smoke. Ionization type smoke alarms typically respond first to fast flaming fires. They are best suited for rooms that contain combustible materials
- Smoldering fires produce a lot of smoke but little heat. Careless smoking for example can cause a fire to smolder for hours before flaming. Photoelectric smoke alarms typically respond first to slow smoldering fires. This type of alarm is best suited for bedrooms, living rooms and kitchen areas
- For maximum protection, install at least one ionization and one photoelectric type smoke alarm on each level of your home
Another level of security for fire protection is the Central Station Alarm, which can be tied into home monitoring systems and is monitored by an alarm company 24/7. When activated the alarm company notifies the Fire Department. Having a Central Station Alarm system is a great idea for many reasons beyond best in class security, which even includes receiving credits on your premium with AIG. It’s great for those who travel extensively or often spend time outside the home.
Consider the installation of heat detection units as well. Locate them in the furnace area, the garage, the attic and kitchen.