March 6, 2015
By: Gerrit Brusse
Smoke detectors are an important part of protecting your home and property from disaster. In the event of a fire, seconds count as toxic smoke can quickly fill a structure and disorient those unlucky enough to still be inside. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the myths surrounding smoke, and guide you to selecting the best smoke detectors for your home.
Here’s a quick video to whet your appetite:
Myth #1 Smoke is always hot – Simply untrue. Smoldering fires can emit smoke particles that are cool. This is specifically true with man-made materials such as plastics, composites, and fabrics.
Myth #2 If I’m sleeping, the smell of smoke would wake me up – Unfortunately, the toxic fumes emitted from the man=made materials indicated above can actually render you unconscious, or into a deeper sleep.
Myth #3 In a fire, the flames provide the greatest threat – Structure fires produce thick black smoke that can cause nausea, disorientation, temporary blindness, and other terrible side effects. Smoke also contains large amounts of carbon monoxide, which is the ultimate cause of death in many fires.
Myth #4 Pets can sense danger and will escape a fire – Household pets are likely more susceptible to death during a structure fire than we are. Most pets can “sense” danger, and will run and hide somewhere in the house, making them nearly impossible to round up in a hasty evacuation.
Picking the Proper Smoke Detector
There are two common types of smoke detectors readily available to most consumers – Ionization and Photoelectric
Ionization-type smoke alarms have a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates, which ionizes the air and causes current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the flow of ions, thus reducing the flow of current and activating the alarm.
Photoelectric smoke alarms are generally more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering. Photoelectric-type alarms aim a light source into a sensing chamber at an angle away from the sensor. Smoke enters the chamber, reflecting light onto the light sensor; triggering the alarm.
Link Security and SmartHome only installs Photoelectric smoke detectors and recommends having them professionally installed as part of a monitored security and life safety system. Contact us today for a free life safety analysis of your home.
sources: www.nfpa.org, www.safehome.ca