Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
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How Do You Let the Smoke Out of the Apartment?

Overcooked bacon billows smoke that sets off the apartments smoke alarm.
When the apartment's smoke alarm makes noise, but there's no fire, the first impulse is to let the smoke out of the apartment by opening the door into the hall. This is a problem because the building's common area smoke detection system will also detect the smoke.


By Douglas Krantz

OK. Now the bacon is overcooked and, making the smoke alarm sound off, the apartment is full of smoke. That kind of thing happens.

What do you do now?

Letting the Smoke Out

Opening the window to let the smoke outside is a good thing; opening the door to let the smoke into the apartment building hall is a bad thing.

Because nothing else really happens, letting the smoke outside is good.

Because other things happen, allowing the smoke into the apartment building hall is bad. Opening that door lets the smoke set off the apartment building's common fire alarm system, getting everyone out of the apartment building... and the fire department, looking for smoke, visits your apartment.

Problem: Common Area Smoke Detection System

The smoke alarm in the apartment is a stand-alone alarm, the rest of the building's occupants don't hear it. You're only one the smoke alarm alerts.

This is as opposed to the smoke detectors in the common areas of the building. If the common area fire alarm goes off, everyone in the building hears that alarm. The common fire alarm system tells everyone in the building there's danger.

Let the Smoke Outside -- Not into the Halls

If the smoke alarm in your apartment goes off because the bacon is overcooked, air out the apartment to the outside. That won't be noticed by anyone.

Just don't open the door to the hallway; opening that door causes too much commotion.
Based on his electronics training, and his understanding of Life Safety, Douglas Krantz has compiled his knowledge of Conventional Fire Alarm Systems into the book Make It Work - Conventional Fire Alarms. The book covers the basics of the Conventional Fire Alarm System, and shows how Life Safety and internal supervision affects the fire alarm system.

Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer

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Post this by your fire alarm panel -- It shows the in-house fire alarm system and how it calls the fire department.

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