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Installing Smoke Detectors Properly
By Jonathan Meyer
A smoke detector is your family's first line of defense. Studies have shown that escape and survival chances are higher if you detect a fire at its first stages, before it becomes too large to control using home equipment.
Another important fact is that early detection of fire, in many cases, will allow you to extinguish it before it grows to a disaster-scale fire that requires the intervention of your local fire department.
Smoke detectors must be installed wisely and maintained frequently in order to operate effectively and provide you with peace of mind. Proper placement of smoke detectors is the key factor of their ability to provide efficient fire warning.
Where to Install a Smoke Detector?
The primary job of smoke detectors is to wake up sleeping persons and warn them of urgent danger. Install your detectors as close as possible to the bedrooms. If you have only one main area where bedrooms are located, install it at a central point among these bedrooms. If sleeping areas in your home are separated (for example: in multiple-level homes), install a fire detector near each area. Usually, the best location is the hallway closest to the bedrooms.
If your family members close their bedrooms doors while sleeping, consider installing a smoke detector inside each bedroom in addition to the one in the hallway. This is especially important if anyone in your family tends to smoke in bed.
Although closed doors may offer some protection against fire and smoke, they may make it difficult to hear a detector alarm installed outside the bedroom. Even more dangerous is the fact that if fire originates inside the bedroom, the closed door will keep the smoke from reaching and activating the detector if it is installed outside of the room.
Where Not to Install a Smoke Detector?
To prevent false alarms, don't install smoke detectors near heat sources. Although the kitchen presents many fire hazards, installing a smoke detector there may cause false alarms due to smoke generated from cooking, frying, or boiling.
Do not install smoke detectors within six inches of where walls and ceilings meet. If installed in these locations, your smoke detectors may not receive the smoke flow required to activate the alarm.
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