We all know what a fire alarm sounds like because all of us, at one time or another, have cursed and raged when they won’t stop going off. Some of us may even have removed the batteries so we can burn our toast in peace. However, for the fire conscious this is a cause for concern.
Fire alarms are there for a reason – a safety reason. Like them or loathe them, they have been built into your apartment or house for the specific purpose of preventing your death. It is a well known fact that house fires produce suffocating amounts of smoke, some of which will prevent you waking up and removing yourself from the danger. A smoke alarm has been designed to wake you up in this instance, potentially saving your life.
How Often Should You Test Your Smoke Alarm?
You should test your smoke alarm once a month. If it does not make an ear-bursting alarm sound, then you need to replace the batteries. If you live in your own house you are responsible for this and a new battery should be added once a year, even if it seems to be working fine. If you are a landlord, you must make sure regular fire safety inspections occur, in line with your state or country’s legislation.
You should also replace the whole smoke detection unit every ten years, even if it seems to be working well. A fire alarm cannot help waking you in the event of a fire if it is not working when you need it most.
How Do You Test Your Fire Alarm?
If your fire alarm is in your home, the unit should have a button on the side. Press this button and hole it for a few moments. A standard model ionisation alarm will emit the alert sound, letting you know it still works.
If you are testing a fire alarm for an organisation or business with large premises, it is advised that you test your alarm system regularly. Once a week or once a month is standard. You should alert your local fire station that this is your standard testing time.
Old fire alarm units may require you to open them with an Allen key or screwdriver to avoid breaking the glass. Newer systems generally use Perspex that can be pushed, rather than relying on glass breaking. To test a new system it is fairly easy to push the button on your wall socket, then reset the system[i].
You should make sure that you can hear your alarm in every room of your property.
Fire Safety Tech is Evolving
Although a well-maintained, regularly tested fire alarm system will keep you safe – the world of fire safety technology is evolving. There are firms out there (such as Ciqurix) who specialise in developing new alert systems and in finding new ways to detect flames, faster. In this instance, video fire safety detection cameras are a newer, more reliable way of finding flames.
Consider it a step in the evolutionary chain of smoke detection systems. It’s fuss-free, detects fire faster by not relying on smoke rising or chemical presence in the air, and gets the job done. It represents the future. Until you get there, however, keep testing those alarms.