SMOKE ALARMS VS. SMOKE DETECTORS: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE – Every home should have smoke alarms or smoke detectors installed. We often hear the terms smoke alarm and smoke detector used interchangeably and although they are used for the same purpose-to alert the presence of smoke, they are installed and operate very differently. How do you know which is right for your home?
An individual unit- Placed in specific areas
Needs batteries/can be wired with battery back-up
Each alarm will sound only when smoke reaches its area and can be joined to other alarms in the home
A call must be made to fire rescue
Not self contained–wired into an existing home security system
Wired into home’s electrical system/available with battery back-up
Can be wired so that the control board or all alarms will sound when
smoke is detected anywhere within the system’s coverage
Home security system will notify fire rescue
To take it one step further, there are two types of Smoke Detectors:
Ionization smoke detectors
Sensitive to small particles like burning paper or grease fire
Great for kitchens, an office or garage
Photoelectric smoke detectors
Sensitive to large smoke particles as in a smoldering fire; like cigarettes
Perfect for all living/sleeping areas
The main reasons people get trapped in fires is that the home did not have smoke alarms or detectors installed, the unit was not working properly or it had dead batteries. All alarms should be checked monthly to be sure they are working correctly and batteries must be replaced once a year, even if they appear to be working.
Smoke alarms can be bought virtually anywhere and if you are concerned about how many you need, what type is best for each room, or where they should be installed; contact your local fire department. Someone will come out to assess your home and instruct you on what type and where the units should be placed.
Keep in mind that the fire department is simply advising you and is not liable in any way. There may be a small fee or the request of a donation for this service.