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Brush Up On Home Fire Detector Safety

Installing smoke detectors makes you feel safe from a possible fire. But don’t rely on the original units that came with your house. Fire research has demonstrated that with today’s modern furnishings, fires can spread much more rapidly than in the past when more natural materials were used. Because of this, having a sufficient number of properly located smoke alarms is essential to maximize available escape time. 

The old rule of thumb was one on each level. Homes built to earlier standards often don’t meet that minimum requirement. St. Paul homeowners should recognize that detection needs have changed over the years and take proactive steps to make sure that every home has a sufficient complement of smoke alarms. We at ICC Restoration would like to offer some tips on fire detector safety.

Where to Place the Smoke Detector

Most fatal fires occur late at night or early morning, while you’re asleep. For this reason, the National Fire Protection Association recommends placing smoke detectors in every occupied bedroom, as well as on every floor. But think about how you use your home and where risks lie. Add one to the laundry room. If you have refinished the basement, install interconnected detectors downstairs, as well. 

In the kitchen, place the smoke detector away from the stove to prevent false alarms. Install smoke detectors on the ceiling. If you must mount the smoke detector on the wall, it should be placed less than 12 inches away from the ceiling to accurately detect smoke or fire.

Don’t rely on detectors in dusty places, like attics, or in garages that are not temperature-regulated.

Current Technology

Consider three kinds of smoke detectors: photoelectric, ionization, or a combination of the two: a dual sensor. Photoelectric ones are better at picking up slow-building, smoldering fires, like one resulting from a lit cigarette. Ionization detectors quickly note sudden combustible fires with high flames, like a grease fire.

For the best protection and safety, go with the dual sensor. Since you don’t know what sort of fire may spark, having either type of detector still allows you the early warning time to react and take action. 

Heed Those Chirps

The best detectors in the best locations only protect you if they are properly maintained; this could mean life or death! In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five (43%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Dead batteries caused one-quarter (25%) of the smoke alarm failures.

Because a smoke detector constantly filters the air in your home, maintenance is crucial. Most smoke detectors come equipped with a “chirping” alert to let you know their battery is low, but stick to a rule of changing out the batteries annually, even if it’s quiet all year. Don’t be a cheapskate — reuse the “not quite dead” batteries in the TV remote before you recycle it.

NFPA recommends that you test your smoke alarms at least once a month, and replace old detectors every ten years.

Fire Damage Cleanup St. Paul

Whenever your home suffers fire damage, call ICC Restoration for advice and assistance; every effort will be made to save your valuables. ICC has the certifications, training and experience to properly restore both your structures and their contents while protecting the health of the family.  

ICC Restoration is focused on restoring damage with as little reconstruction as possible, so property is returned to normal faster. But if reconstruction or other services are required, they can be your single source of contact to take the project from start to finish with procedures to reduce the restoration by one-third to one-half the time. In St. Paul, you can be confident in ICC’s ability to restore the structure to pre-loss condition with as little disruption as possible. 


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