Tellico Village Volunteer Fire Department

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Smoke Detectors


In the U.S, the National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly two-thirds of deaths due from house fires occur in properties without working smoke alarms/detectors.


The use of early warning fire and smoke detection systems results in significant reduction in fire deaths. The sooner a fire is detected, the better the out­come for saving lives. Correct installation and maintenance of smoke detectors prevents unwanted nuisance alarms.


Occupants can become desensitized when repeated nuisance alarms occur. In worst case scenarios, technicians could disconnect alarms from the system to avoid the unnecessary disruption. Either situ­ation negates a detector’s potential life saving benefit, making the proper operation of an early warning fire and smoke detection system indispensable.

A smoke detector is a device that detects smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. Commercial, industrial, and mass residential devices issue a signal to a fire alarm system, while household detectors, known as smoke alarms, generally issue a local audible or visual alarm from the detector itself.


Smoke Alarm Information and Tips

Smoke alarms are the most important safety features of your home. Properly installed, working smoke alarms will give you the early warning you need to safely escape from a fire.


Choosing an Alarm
  • Be sure that smoke alarms carry the label of an independent testing lab.
  • Smoke alarms can run on batteries or on household currents.
  • Smoke alarms have different sensor technologies:
  • Ionization Smoke Alarms- More effective against fast-flaming fires- fire which consume materials rapidly and spread quickly. Sources of these fires may be paper fires or kitchen fires.
  • Photoelectric Smoke Alarms- More effective against slow smoldering fires (fires which smolder for hours before bursting into flame.) Sources of these fires include cigarettes burning in couches or bedding.
  • Combo Units- Ionization/Photoelectric are available and provide early warning of both types of fires.
  • Where to Install Alarms
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, including the basement and in/near every sleeping area. Ensure that all members of your family can hear it.
  • Mount alarms high on a wall or on top of the ceiling. Position wall-mounted alarms with the top of the alarm 4-12 inches from the ceiling.
  • Position ceiling-mounted alarms at least 4 inches away from the nearest wall.
  • Don’t install smoke alarms near a window, door, or forced-air register where drafts could interfere with its operation. The moving air can blow smoke away from the alarm’s sensor.
  • To avoid false alarms, keep smoke alarms at least ten feet from stoves and steamy showe.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions using a drill and screwdriver.
  • Plug-in alarms must have restraining devises so they cannot be unplugged by mistake.
  • Hard-wire alarms need to be installed by a qualified electrician.
  • Never connect a smoke alarm to a circuit that can be turned off from a wall switch.
  • Test smoke alarms once a month by pushing the “test button.”
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected or dead. Almost one-quarter of the smoke alarm failures was due to dead batteries.
  • Install new batteries at least once a year.
  • Clean smoke alarms using a vacuum cleaner without removing the alarm’s cover.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
  • Alarms for the Hearing impaired
  • Smoke alarms for the hearing impaired have a built in strobe light. The alarm has both an audible and visible signal and can be mounted in ceilings and walls.