Figures for the UK are just as shocking. In the twelve alert system period between June 2006 and June 2007 there have been 467 fire deaths.

This article examines the types of smoke alarm accessible and provides advice about how best to install and keep them.

“You’re twice as likely to survive a house fire if you’ve got a functioning smoke alarm”. – origin: UK Government”Firekills” campaign.

Whilst the benefits of an early warning system are evident, these figures brings to sharp focus the value of those vital few added minutes that a smoke alarm affords those escaping a fire, particularly of course at night.

In simple terms Ionisation alarms operate by monitoring the quality of the air. Detecting tiny particles of combustion that cannot be seen or smelt, they react very quickly to hot, fast flaming fires, such as those due to flames in processor pans. Ionisation smoke alarms, are nevertheless vulnerable to false alarms because they will detect dust, small steam and insects. Though some would consider this a small price to pay for early fire detection.

Optical smoke Alarms function by’seeing’ the smoke, using an emitter to direct a tiny Infra red beam onto a getting photocell. As the smoke particles enter the detection chamber the infra red beam is interrupted, breaking the circuit and thus triggering the alarm. They’re more effective at discovering slow-burning fires through which smoking is created. This sort of illness is not uncommon to the smouldering of foam filled furniture or overheated wiring. They are less prone to false alarms compared to Ionisation smoke alarms, but, if mounted at the kitchen is going to be triggered by the smoke of burning toast.

Heat Alarms

Requiring less upkeep, since they are less sensitive to dust, heat alarms are best for use in kitchens. Smoke alarms are mounted in kitchens as they are vulnerable to false alarms. However, since approximately 40 percent of all house fires develop from the kitchen this is the zone requiring attention.

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