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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Smoke Detectors - Your First Line of Defense

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Your home is one of your biggest investments, protect yourself and your family!

Think you don’t need a smoke detector? Think again!

Fires destroy numerous homes in Chapin and surrounding areas every year. One of the easiest ways you can prevent fire damage is early detection. Smoke detectors are inexpensive, easy to install and require very little maintenance. Properly maintained, they can keep your home and your family safe from harm.

There are many causes for house fires; faulty wiring, appliance mishaps, smoking, the list goes on and on. No matter the cause, fires are unpredictable and can be life shattering. Ensuring that your home has a functional smoke detector is one of the most important steps to reduce fire damage to your Chapin home. According to the South Carolina Fire Marshal, a smoke detector or alarm should be installed on the ceiling in every sleeping room, hallway and on every level of your home (this includes basements and attics).

The two most prominent types of smoke detectors are ionization and photoelectric.

Ionization: uses ions, or electrically charged particles that react to particles emitted in a fire, setting off the alarm. They are best at detecting fast-flaming fires that don’t emit much visible smoke. Most home fires are smoky and smoldering long before flames flare, ionization alarms are not as quick at detecting those. They can also be prone to nuisance alarms from cooking or steam, these should not be placed in the kitchen or bathrooms.

Photoelectric: contains a photo cell and a light beam that shines away from the cell. Once smoke enters the test chamber, some of the light becomes scattered by the smoke particles, which hits the cell and an alarm is triggered. They are best at detecting smoky and smoldering fires, which are most common in home fires. Dust or insects that enter the cell can cause false alarms so they should be cleaned occasionally.

There are several other types of smoke detectors and alarms, consider the conditions in which the device will be placed and the type of home you have before purchasing. If you’re unsure, pay a visit to your local Fire Station and they can guide you in the right direction!

After proper installation it is imperative that you maintain your devices by following these simple steps:

  1. Test the detector every month - we recommend the testing of smoke detectors at least once a month. This helps to determine if the battery is dead or if the alarm is working. To test the device, press the button until an audible alert tone sounds. 
  2. Replace the battery - If you find the battery is dead, we recommend you replace it. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on how to replace the batteries. Each alarm is different but should have a function that identifies if the battery is low. But, be doubly cautious and follow the wisdom of replacing the batteries when you reset your clocks for Daylight or Standard Time.
  3. Vacuum the detector  - After testing or replacing the batteries, we also recommend vacuuming the detector. This helps to remove any cobwebs, insects and dust build-up. Use a soft brush attachment for this process. 

Following these maintenance tips should cut losses and possibly save your family. If an emergency or mishap does occur from fire, water or mold problem, call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork 24/7 emergency line at (803) 749-0178.

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