How do smoke alarms work?
A working smoke alarm is essential. In fact, Fire Kills UK states that you are nine times more likely to die from a fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm in your building.
We can all agree that these safety tools are vital, but how do they work? Keep reading to find out.
How Do Smoke Alarms Operate?
Different types of smoke alarms are available, but they all work similarly. As smoke is the first element of fire to reach the ceiling, smoke alarms detect fires in their earliest phase. To do this, the intelligent systems detect changes in the regular airflow experienced when smoke particles accumulate. Once detection has occurred, the alarm is triggered, which should also encourage other devices to be initiated.
How the detection is triggered will vary based on the form of the detector. The most common examples are shown below:
Photoelectric alarms detect smoke using light reflection changes to sense when the smoke has arisen. The sensor is designed to know the difference between air and smoke particles to avoid triggering incorrectly.
Ionisation smoke alarms use radioactive materials in conjunction with electrically charged plates. When smoke enters the chamber, the alarm uses ionisation to decipher foreign material that triggers the alarm.
It is important to regularly check the working efficiency of smoke alarms as they are the first defence against fires causing damage. They can also often detect when a fire has started before the flames have spread too much, preventing costly damage.
Where Should You Position a Smoke Alarm?
Aside from the technology, knowing how to install a smoke alarm correctly is a part of understanding how they work. If not put in the right location, the technology will not get to work correctly and potentially miss the signs of smoke that it is intended to notice.
You should always include smoke alarms in the centre of ceilings with a minimum of 30mm between other fixtures and the wall. As smoke rises horizontally, this gives the alarm the best chance of detecting issues from any direction within the room.
They should also be placed in the mainly used room and the communal spots to cover all bases. A smoke alarm should also be present on each level of a home or building.
Interconnected smoke alarms are also recommended to ensure that all fire detection equipment is linked and able to work together should there be an alert. Connected to the mains, they also feature a backup battery so that even if power is cut, detection devices are still fully operational.
How Can You Ensure Smoke Alarm Safety?
- Choose a professional smoke alarm installation service to ensure they are properly set up.
- Select interconnected devices which service the whole home.
- Undertake regular alarm maintenance to ensure operational efficiency.
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