Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
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Smoke Alarms are There for Your Safety

Smoke alarms aren't just there to loudly beep when you've over cooked the food, smoke alarms are there to wake you up in time to escape if the room is starting to fill up with deadly smoke from a building fire.

Smoke alarms are used to detect smoke early, while there's still time to escape without breathing much smoke.


By Douglas Krantz



Smoke alarms are there for safety; disconnecting one so it won't make noise when it shouldn't will also prevent it from making noise when a person's life is on the line.

Smoke alarms don't detect fire; smoke alarms detect smoke. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), most fire deaths are not caused by burns from flame, most fire deaths are caused by breathing smoke.

Because they detect smoke while the smoke is just starting to build up in a room, the smoke alarms give people an early warning of dangerous smoke, often before the person even realizes there is smoke.

The early warning, though, isn't very early. The NFPA goes on to say in the same article that from the time a person first hears the smoke alarm until they can safely escape a fire in the average house is about two minutes. That really is not much time.

Remember that smoke alarms are part of the protection plan for people's safety, but they are only part of the protection plan. The other part is that people, hearing the smoke alarm sound off, take immediate action for their own protection. If the smoke alarms are disconnected or disabled, the early warning that anyone could have received is lost, and that two minutes of early warning may have been the only warning.

When a smoke alarm keeps sounding off when it's not supposed to, rather than disable it, find out why. Change it, use a different type of smoke alarm, change the way you're doing things, or contact someone who can help. Pulling the battery or removing the smoke alarm from the ceiling removes the early warning part of the protection and puts a person at greater risk of breathing dangerous smoke.
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