The Importance of Fire Alarms – Checking Your System

In the last year alone, there were 66,659 reported accidental fires in the home in Great Britain alone, with 12,362 of those cases due to faulty appliances and leads and a further 5,102 due to careless handling of fire or hot substances. With so many cases occurring throughout the UK in one year alone, it is no wonder that smoke alarms and fire alarms are becoming more and more necessary in today’s homes.

So…a fire alarm or a smoke alarm? Which one should you get? Is there any difference? We take a look at the differences and the importance of buying and checking your own fire alarm, when it comes to health and safety in and around the home.

Smoke Alarms and Fire Alarms – The Difference
In short, the main difference between smoke alarms and fire alarms is that smoke alarms are a much simpler version of the same system. A smoke alarm is designed to alert you and everyone else in the building of a fire when it senses a particular number of smoke particles in the air. It acts as an early warning system to get everyone to exit the building.

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In comparison a fire alarm does all of the above, but can also be linked to a number of additional systems. Some fire alarms come with additional devices fitted, such as vibrating devices for the hard of hearing or flashing lights. They can also be linked to both a local fire station, a heat detection system and a sprinkler system. Fire alarms, while also used in homes, are also more commonly found in workplaces, retail stores, offices and warehouses and other similar places where large numbers of people crowd or work.

Thinking about the Future
If you have young children, or are planning on having young children, it is essential that you have at least one smoke alarm installed in their bedroom, or outside. You never know when smoke or a fire can occur, and it happens far more often in children’s rooms than you might think, so taking extra precautions is always recommended.

Try not to install a smoke alarm inside the kitchen; some cooking and recipes call for smoke, so you’ll just have it going off all the time. The room or the hallway just outside the kitchen is a useful location for a smoke or fire alarm, as if the smoke level rises so much to set it off there; the smoke is clearly not intentional and is therefore a danger.

How to Check Your System
In order to keep your alarm in good working order, it is important to check it regularly for faults. This is fairly easy to do and takes just minutes out of your weekly schedule. Test it every week by pressing the test button (it should be fairly easy to see) until the alarm sounds, change the battery at least once a year or when the alarm sounds at odd times. Lastly in order to make sure the alarm is in good working order, it is a good idea to replace the whole unit every ten years, particularly if you have had any previous incidents. Over time general wear and tear can have a lasting effect on any system, so it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to detecting smoke.

What to do in the Event of a Fault
If you are worried that your fire alarm or smoke alarm may have a fault, it is important to make sure that the batteries are not low before getting too stressed out. If your alarm randomly emits a beeping noise every so often, it may be a case of low batteries. Change the batteries and test the alarm, then wait a few hours, then test the alarm once more. If there is no more beeping intermittently, it was a low battery issue.

If your alarm is fully faulty, you have two main options really; to replace the entire unit or to get a professional in to replace the faulty part. If you have a generic system, it may be cheaper to replace the entire unit, but if it is more of a specific system you will need to enlist the help of a professional. There are websites that will sell you replacement parts for fire alarms and smoke alarms but it is always recommended that you get it replaced by an experienced contractor, otherwise you may be doing more harm than good. Make sure to always test your machines after replacement!

At the end of the day, having a fire alarm or at least a smoke alarm in your house is essential. Some insurance policies make a smoke or fire alarm a requirement, otherwise you may not be eligible to claim damages in the event of a fire. It saves lives and it can also save damages on equipment and furniture if you or other family members are careless smokers, or are fans of scented candles. A smoke alarm or a fire alarm could be the difference between life and death one day, so why take the risk?

Article provided by www.appeng.co.uk; suppliers of high quality mechanical switches and sensors from the West Sussex depot since 1983.

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