Smoke Alarms Save Lives

We’ve all heard Smokey the Bear give his famous, sage advice: “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

While Smokey was right on the mark with his advice and, no doubt, saved millions of trees and countless lives with his message, the same applies to the affect you can have on your home and those you care about most: Your family.

How can you protect what means the most to you? By using quality smoke alarms and ensuring they are kept in good working order, maintained and tested regularly.

Here are some points to consider when choosing, installing and maintaining smoke alarms.

Choosing the best

When roaming the aisles at your favorite home improvement store or searching online, you quickly discover there are many options available and your initial thought of just buying one is dispelled.

The most important consideration is one that uses two types of detection: Ionization and photoelectric. Using a dual-sensor alarm system adds a layer of protection for your family. The ionization detector option sounds the alarm faster when a fire is a fast-flame type. Photoelectric detectors sound the alarm best when a fire is slow and smoldering.

Installing them properly

This isn’t about just buying one fire alarm and putting it in the living room or kitchen. No, you need one smoke alarm outside each bedroom and another one in the hallway or central area of each level in the home.

The alarms should be mounted on the ceiling, since heat and smoke rises. Keep them several inches from the wall, and away from both cold air return and fresh air supply vents.

Maintenance and testing

Most fire alarms come with a simple button for testing purposes. Once each month, safely climb up on a chair or ladder and push the button. A loud, very irritating screeching sound will emanate, indicating it is ready for action. Pushing the button again usually turns it off. While you are up there testing, use a blast of compressed air to clear away dust, cobwebs, and anything else that could interfere with the operation of the smoke alarm. Do this for all alarms in your home.

Don’t forget to change the batteries on an annual basis. Set a reminder on your electronic device, such as your phone or tablet, or pencil it in on a paper calendar.

More tips from NFPA Smoke alarm tip sheet

And if the unthinkable happens, and a fire does occur in your home, don’t forget your disaster restoration professionals at Accent American are ready for action. They can restore your home and belongings. After all, it pays to call a pro!

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