Every home should have more than one smoke alarm – official advice recommends having at least one on each floor plus one in each bedroom, although many people just have one on each floor. When placing your smoke alarms it’s vital that they are in the right place so they are triggered when they should be, and not when they shouldn’t be. Ideally they should be placed in the centre of the ceiling, but when this isn’t possible they can be placed 2/3 of the way up a wall and not near a window. Smoke alarms in kitchens and bathrooms are often triggered falsely, so they should be put outside these rooms.
Anyone can buy off the shelf, battery operated, smoke alarms and install them with some basic DIY knowledge; but the danger here is that they are not linked, so a blaring smoke alarm upstairs might not be heard if you are downstairs watching the TV on and the volume is up very loud or you are wearing headphones listening to loud music. Similarly, an alarm sounding downstairs might not be audible upstairs at night which is when you most need a loud noise to wake you up. One family in Cork found this out the hard way when they slept through their downstairs smoke alarm early one morning.
Luckily, a neighbour heard the alarm and checked it out. Seeing smoke pouring from the house she phoned the fire brigade straight away while her husband acted quickly, grabbing a ladder and getting to the property at the same time as another neighbour with a keen sense of hearing. The two neighbours were able to access the children’s bedroom and get them all out safely, while the fire brigade arrived in time to rescue the parents. The father had gone downstairs to investigate and his wife had followed. By the time the fire brigade arrived they were both semi-conscious and suffering the effects of smoke inhalation.
Our fire alarm systems can be integrated into an intruder alarm system or fitted as a standalone system. We can also design a system which links the alarms, so you will hear them wherever you are in the house. This means a fire downstairs, perhaps in the utility room, will trigger the alarms upstairs, alerting you to the danger in good time to get out before the fire spreads. You might not have heard an alarm sound downstairs if you were upstairs with headphones on, but with an alarm which sounds on both levels you have much more chance of hearing it. There are visual alerts are available for customers with impaired hearing, even ones which trigger a bed to shake so you will be woken up in the event of a fire, even if you can’t hear or see an alert. We can also offer a fire brigade response to alarms which ensures any fires are dealt with swiftly and safely.
If your hearing isn’t as good as it could be, it is worth getting it checked and investigating whether hearing aids might help. Most high street opticians’ offer hearing tests and hearing aids; as we get older most of us are susceptible to some hearing loss – addressing this sooner rather than later could save your life in the event of a fire.
If you don’t have multiple smoke alarms then now is the time to get more, ideally one in any room where electrical equipment is used or where the doors are usually closed. This ensures you are alerted to a fire that might start in those rooms which you might not notice until it was well underway. You should also have one on each floor of the building, located on the ceiling and away from windows, bathrooms or kitchens. If you want the latest system with text alerts, linked alarms or one which is integrated into your home security system call us today.