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The Importance of Smoke Detectors

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), death from fire injury is the third common unintentional cause of fetal home injury. As fire claims the lives of many people each year and destroys properties and belongings; Smoke detectors play a big and important role in preventing such fires. Smoke detectors are devices that detect smoke or other combustion products and when they sense them an alarm will sound alerting people for the danger of fire.

There are two types of smoke detectors:

1- Ionization smoke detectors: this device detects smoke particles emitted from fire whether they are visible or invisible. Smoke changes the electric current which triggers the start of the alarm.

2- Photoelectric smoke detector: this device detects large particles of smoke, when smoke is sensed, there is a light bulb in the device that reflects the smoke to a photocell, this photocell will be activated leading to the alarm sounding.

There are devices that have both ionization and photoelectric properties. Some work on batteries other work on electrical current; there are types that work on both.

Smoke detectors should be installed outside each sleeping area on each floor level; smoke detectors should also be installed near living areas such as the living room and family rooms and also in the basement. When the smoke detector is installed test it by pressing the test button which will check the function of the smoke detector. Smoke detectors should be kept away from places that may lead to false alarms such as wooden stoves and fireplaces. In addition the alarm can sound from other things such as dust and fresh paint fumes.

Smoke detectors should be checked regularly and batteries should be replaced at least once a year and cleaned once a year.

You should also have an escape plan and you should practice the plan. Be familiar with the alarm sound and if you hear the alarm sound try to find the nearest exit by crawling on your hands and knees to a safe place. Stop, drop and roll if your clothes catch fire and avoid running. Call the fire department and don’t try to return back to the burning building. See also (Third Degree Burns, Smoke Inhalation Injury, and Keloid Scars)

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.