Smoke Alarm Safety Tips
Here are a few simple tips to follow to keep you, your family and your home safe.
1. Which smoke alarm should I buy?
You have several options, so make sure you get the smoke alarm(s) that works best for your home:
- Standard battery operated alarms are the least expensive option, but the batteries need to be replaced every year (and checked more frequently!). If you are saying “UGH” right now, then consider an alarm which includes a 10-year battery.
- Electricity-powered alarms must be installed by a trained electrician. You can link your alarms so that when one alarm sounds, they all go off together. This is useful if you live in a big house or have several floors.
- Light socket plug-in alarms are an option. Some have rechargeable batteries that charge when the light is on.
- Strobe light and vibrating alarms are available for those hard of hearing.
- There’s also newer technology like Nest Protect, a Wi-Fi-enabled smart device made by Nest Labs (recently purchased by Google).
2. Is Nest Protect worth it?
Should you pay $99 vs. $10? If all you need are the basics, paying over $90 is a steep premium. However, it’s hard to put a price on additional safety features, and if you value bells and whistles, then maybe Nest Protect is a good investment for you:
- Wi-Fi-connected message alerts (if the alarm goes off or if the battery is low).
- It speaks!
- Detects Carbon Monoxide (Many First Alert and Kiddie models also offer this feature).
- It’s attractive. (Perfect if you like square designs rather than circles).
3. Can I randomly place the smoke alarms around the house?
No, not if you want your smoke alarms to be effective:
- Place one inside or outside each bedroom--most fatal fires happen at night.
- Make sure there is at least one on every floor and in the basement so that you can hear them throughout your house.
- Because smoke rises, alarms should be placed in the center of a ceiling or high on walls, in the hallways, or staircases/staircase landings.
- Do not put a smoke alarm in, or too near, the kitchen or bathroom -- cooking and steam can trigger false alarms.
4. Once I’ve installed my alarm, can I just let it take care of itself?
No! Poorly maintained alarms are just as dangerous as not having an alarm at all!
- You should make checking your smoke alarm part of your regular household routine. Test the smoke alarms once a month by pushing the test button. If the button does not sound, you need to change the battery.
- If your smoke alarm begins to chirp on a regular basis, replace the batteries immediately.
- Many alarms last for only 10 years, so replace the alarm unit every 10 years.
- Never disconnect or take the batteries out of your smoke alarm if it goes off by mistake!
- Make sure everyone, especially young children, knows what to do when they hear the alarm.
By following these four basic smoke alarm tips, you can increase the safety in your home...and sleep easy.