Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is Your Smoke Alarm Working?

Smoke Alarm Dead Zone
If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.
~Robert Fulghum, author of "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten"
Last month two stories caught my eye regarding house fires at Christmas time.

The first took place in Montclair, NJ on Dec 21. A family of five heard fire crackling around 5pm and had 45 seconds to escape before the living room was engulfed in flame. Officials think it was the Christmas tree that ignited. All family members and the family's dog made it out without injury, although the family's jet black cat is missing. The house is a complete loss.

The other story had a sadder ending. A Christmas morning fire in a $1.7 million house in Stamford, CT killed the parents and children of the owner. The children's mother climbed out a window onto scaffolding and then a flat roof. She screamed for her children and told firefighters which bedrooms they were in. The fireman tried twice to enter the third floor of the house but the flames and heat were too intense. The mother's parents were staying for the holiday and also died in the fire. Officials think the cause was old fireplace embers that had been discarded near a first-floor entryway.

Last year, old embers discarded outside also caused a fire in a friend's house. The wife was at home when she heard someone knocking furiously at her door. She was afraid to answer it, thinking it some crazed person, but instead it was a passing driver who saw the house was on fire and wanted to warn anyone inside.

Bottom Line

Make sure you have working Smoke Alarms. Some sites recommend a monthly test and replacing the batteries twice a year when you set the clocks forward and back.

Also be sure to place them properly. Smoke rises so a detector placed low on a wall will alarm much too late. I also learned just last week that there is a space called the "dead zone" that you must avoid placing smoke alarms. The dead zone is everything within 4"-6" of the line where the wall and ceiling meet. (see image above) Air flow is restricted (dead air) along this edge and smoke won't reach the alarm quickly.

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1 Comments:

OpenID firepronevada said...

Smoke alarms can save your life and the lives of your family and pets. It is important to have them in your house, especially in bedrooms, and to make sure they are always in working order.

Las Vegas Fire Extinguisher Service

July 11, 2013 at 4:49 AM  

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