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Will Your Smoke Alarm Wake You?

Updated on December 11, 2011

Will Your Smoke Alarm Wake You?

Will your smoke alarm wake you and your family?* Since most fire deaths occur during the night, a smoke alarm is a valuable lifesaving device.

According to the fire department of New York City, an operable smoke alarm will reduce your chances of dying in a fire, by nearly 50%.

To protect yourself, your family and your community here are some suggestions.

1 - Install smoke alarms that have the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Mark. This tells you that the alarm has been evaluated according to nationally recognized safety requirements.

2 - Know the two kinds of smoke alarms and their purposes: photoelectric and ionization. The photoelectric alarms are most reliable for smoldering fires which may occur in a bedroom or livingroom. The ionization alarms are best used in a kitchen or garage as they are most reliable in detecting flaming fires. Combination alarms are also available.

3 - In a large home one smoke alarm is not enough. Install an alarm on every level, including the basement. An alarm should be placed within 15 feet of all sleeping areas. You may want to install an alarm in certain bedrooms for added safety (see number 4).

4 - Make sure everyone in your home is familiar with and can be awakened by the sound of the alarm. Some of the elderly, some children, and heavy sleepers may not readily awake. Consider installing individual alarms in each sleeping area, or interconnected smoke alarms: when one alarm senses smoke and sounds, they are triggered throughout the home.

5 - If someone is hearing-impaired, use smoke alarms that use visible notifications, such as flashing strobe lights.

6 - Smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling, preferably in the center of the room. It should not be less than 4 inches from the wall. If your smoke alarm is installed on a wall, it must be placed between 4 and 12 inches from the ceiling.

7 - Please read the instructions with your individual alarms.

When smoke alarms fails to work

it is often because batteries have been removed to prevent nuisance activation caused by cooking vapors or bathroom steam. Rather than taking the battery out of the smoke alarm, do the following:

1 - Consider relocating the alarm.

2 - Push the "HUSH" button.

3 - Open windows, and turn on vent fans.

4 - Consider using a photoelectric or combination photoelectric/ionization type of smoke alarm. These two alarms are less sensitive to cooking smoke.

A final note: It is up to you to make sure your smoke alarm is functioning:

a - Use the test button to make sure the battery is still working.

b - Also a good suggestion that is often televised is to change the battery whenever we change the clocks - in the spring, when we spring ahead, and in the fall, when we fall behind.

Stay safe!

*(Mine would not wake me because I just found out the battery is dead and I can't remember the last time I checked it).

For more information on ways to make sure you and your family are safe, see the links below:

Please, check your smoke alarm now!


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    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I'm so glad this served as a reminder Maita. So often we get annoyed when it keeps going off, disconnect it - and then forget about it.

      Did you get it fixed?

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 8 years ago from US

      very nice advice BK, I pull the plug here of the fire alarm as it is noisy one time when it alarmed and I need to fixed it soon, but thanks for reminding me too, Good day BK, Maita

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you ladyeagle_cdc!

      Fires were a big issue here in NYC. However, now with self-extinguishing cigarettes, the rate of fires has been drastically reduced! A leading cause? People falling asleep with a cigarette.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • ladyeagle_cdc profile image

      ladyeagle_cdc 8 years ago from San Juan City, Philippines

      This is very helpful! Thanks BkCreative.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Darling Candi,

      Isn't is awful how we neglect these important life saving necessities? Sigh!

      I think I need to do an article about CO (carbon monoxide) alarms now that we are indoors for cold weather and using anything at all for heat. Here in the City people use ovens all the time - a danger.

      Thanks so much for your letter!

      Looooove your smile by the way!


    • candi_397 profile image

      candi_397 9 years ago

      Wow! Your advice is so simple, yet many of us overlook our smoke detectors. I am guilty of not properly maintaining them or testing them as often as I should.

      Well, I'm off to get some fresh 9 volt batteries for my detectors. I don't want to find out they are not functioning when I need them to go off!!

      Thanks Bk!!