There is no way around it, properly installed and maintained home smoke alarms are one of the best—and least expensive—ways to provide you and your loved early warning when a fire begins. Home smoke alarms save lives and prevent injuries, for sure, but if your alarm isn’t maintained properly or isn’t checked regularly, you could be at serious risk. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association stated that in one out of five homes that have smoke alarms, none of the smoke alarms work, mainly due to dead, missing or disconnected batteries. Additionally, close to half of the fire deaths that occur in the United States are in the four percent of homes that do not have smoke alarms (NFPA).
Sounds bad, right? Of course it does, and the last thing you want is to be one of the 4%.
If you’re ready to keep you and your loved ones safe it is highly recommended that you get out there and purchase a new one, especially if your “working” smoke alarm is over seven years old or isn’t working at all. When you begin to shop for a home smoke alarm you might feel slightly overwhelmed. After all, there are so many smoke alarms on the market, how could you possible know which one is the best?!
What Should Your Home Smoke Alarms Have?
- Dual sensors. Because ionization and photoelectric sensors detect different types of fire hazards, your family will be most adequately protected with a smoke detector that contains both types of sensors, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
- Battery backup. These units will function with or without electricity. Keep in mind that it’s important to regularly change batteries in these units and test them regularly.
- Easy installation. Battery-powered smoke detectors are easier to install than hardwired units, negating the need to fuss with electrical wiring.
- Testing functionality. The best smoke detectors have a test function to ensure the unit is working adequately.
- Silencing feature. Smoke alarms may go off periodically under false pretenses, such as a cooking accident. A silence button allows you to quickly deactivate the alarm.
- Long warranty.U.S. Fire Administration recommends replacing the entire unit every eight to 10 years.
These specifics mentioned above are highly important for you to consider—and I really wouldn’t recommend that you purchase home smoke alarms without any of these features. In fact, if it were up to me and my associates at Westside Wholesale, we would tell you to make sure that your new smoke alarm offers all of the above. There are a lot of smoke alarm brands on the market, but not all of them offer what Kidde and First Alert do. For decades, Kidde and First Alert have been the top manufacturers of fire safety products for a reason and they come highly recommended by the U.S. Fire Administration and National Fire Protection Association.
Another thing you will need to consider is the type of home smoke alarm that will suit your needs—ionization sensing alarms or photoelectric alarms. Ionization sensing alarms may detect invisible fire particles (associated with fast flaming fires) sooner than Photoelectric alarms. Photoelectric sensing alarms may detect visible fire particles (associated with slow smoldering fires) sooner than Ionization alarms. Kidde and First Alert offer dual-sensor models as well, which incorporate both technologies.
Regardless of what type of alarm you decide to purchase or what brand you go with, it’s important that you embrace the significance of home smoke alarms and what they mean to you and your family. You might want to consider purchasing a dual-sensor model or a home smoke alarm with both technologies in order to maximize your chance of escape. You can never be too prepared for the unexpected.