You install smoke alarms in your home or business to keep your family or your employees safe. Fires in building materials, upholstery or home and office furnishings can spread quickly, leading to property loss, injury, and death. In many cases, homes and businesses have smoke alarms, but they haven’t been properly maintained. Like any piece of equipment, smoke alarms must regularly be checked, serviced or replaced. Home or business insurance companies will likely insist on smoke alarm best practices.
There’s no doubt that smoke alarms in good working order save lives and property. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in property fires where the smoke alarms did not sound, it was later discovered that half of them had missing or disconnected batteries.
Choose the Right Smoke Alarm
If you’re choosing new smoke alarms, do a little homework to ensure you’re purchasing the right kind. Look for smoke alarms listed with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to ensure high quality and product testing. If a member of your household or place of business is hearing-impaired, regularly wears headsets or is employed to do work around noisy machinery, consider purchasing a smoke detector that produces flashing lights or vibrations in addition to a loud noise to signal an emergency.
Smoke Alarm Safety Checklist
Twice a year, pay some attention to your smoke alarms.
Replacing the batteries. Even if you think the batteries are “still good” replace them with fresh batteries anyway, and test the alarm after you insert the new batteries.
Testing all alarms regularly. This will ensure your smoke alarms are in good working order, and your family members or employees know what they sound like. Perform testing twice each year. (Fire safety organizations recommend that you test smoke alarms when you set clocks forward or back as a good reminder.)
Clean the alarms. Smoke alarms can become dusty or caked with dirt, which may render them ineffective. Clean all smoke alarms regularly by vacuuming them with a brush attachment.
Ensure they’re installed in the right place. Experts recommend that wall-mounted smoke alarms be installed 4 to 12 inches from the ceiling, and ceiling-mounted models at least four inches from the nearest wall. If you buy a property with existing smoke alarms, be sure they’re properly placed for maximum effectiveness.
Replace old alarms. Fire safety experts recommend that homeowners or building owners replace all smoke alarms every 10 years to ensure optimum performance.
Properly installed and functioning smoke alarms are there to help alert everyone to the presence of fire in time to evacuate safely and seek immediate help from the fire department. The devices can only work, however, when they’re properly installed and maintained.
At Petruzelo Insurance we want every homeowner to be protected from fires and offer these helpful tips to stop the chances of fires in your home. If you’d like to speak to an agent about your home insurance policy contact us today!