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They say in the event of a fire, a properly installed and maintained smoke alarm can save your life and the lives of your loved ones. Smoke alarms are a very important means of preventing home fire fatalities by providing an early warning signal so you and your family can escape.
They are one of the best safety devices you can buy and install to protect yourself, your family and your home. You can prevent tragedies simply by testing and maintaining your smoke alarms and practicing a fire escape plan. All smoke alarms in your house should be tested once a month and their batteries replaced at least annually or as indicated by the manufacturer’s instructions.
What types of smoke alarms are available?
There are many different brands of smoke alarms available on the market but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.
• Ionization alarms sound more quickly when a flaming, fast moving fire occurs.
• Photoelectric alarms are quicker at sensing smoldering, smoky fires.
• There are also combination (dual sensor) smoke alarms that combine ionization and photoelectric into one unit.
Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting different yet potentially fatal fires and because home residents cannot predict what type of fire might start in a home, Cartersville fire recommends the installation of both ionization and photoelectric or dual sensor smoke alarms. In addition to the basic types of smoke alarms, there are also alarms made to meet the needs of people with disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to assist in alerting those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.
Important information to remember when installing and maintaining smoke alarms:
• Make sure smoke detectors are on every level of your home, outside sleeping areas and inside bedrooms.
• The best mounting location is center of the ceiling at least 12 inches from a wall; next best location is on a wall 12 inches down from the ceiling.
• Test your smoke detectors once a month by pushing the test button.
• Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old. Combination alarms may need replaced every seven years.
• Develop and practice a home fire escape plan.
• Every year, approximately 2,600 Americans die in home fires.
• More than half of these deaths (52 percent) occur between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., when residents are typically sleeping.
• Smoke and toxic gases from a home fire are as deadly as heat and flames.
• Two or three breaths of toxic smoke can render you unconscious.
• The majority of fire victims die or are injured from exposure to smoke and toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, and not actual burns.
Free smoke detectors are available to city residents who cannot afford them. Contact the Cartersville Fire Prevention Division, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 770-387-5636.