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Smoke Detector Fact Sheet and Family Disaster Plan

IAFC Smoke Detector Fact Sheet AND A Family Disaster Plan should include a Family Disaster Supplies Kit. (SEE BELOW) How effective are smoke detectors? Residential fire deaths have decreased steadily as the

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IAFC Smoke Detector Fact Sheet

A Family Disaster Plan should include a Family Disaster
Supplies Kit. (SEE BELOW)

How effective are smoke detectors?

Residential fire deaths have decreased steadily as the number of homes with smoke detectors increased. Reports from the National
Fire Protection Association on residential fire deaths show that people have hearly a 50 percent better chance of surviving a fire if
their home has the recommended number of smoke detectors.

Should I replace my smoke detector?

Smoke detectors that are 10 years old are near the end of their service life and should be replaced. A smoke detector constantly
monitors the air 24 hours a day. At the end of 10 years, it has gone through over 3.5 million monitoring cycles. After this much use,
components may become less reliable. This means that as the detector gets older, the potential of failing to detect a fire increases.
Replacing them after 10 years reduces this possibility.

My detectors are wired into my electrical system. Do I need to replace them as often as battery-operated detectors

Yes. Both types of detectors are equally affected by age.

How many detectors should I have?

The average sized home or apartment needs more than one smoke detector. The exact number depends on the number of levels in
the home and the number of bedrooms. National fire safety standards recommend a minimum of one detector on each level of the
home, one detector outside the bedroom area, and one in each bedroom. The detector that is placed outside of the bedroom area
should be installed near enough to be heard at night through a closed bedroom door.

Is there more than one type of smoke detector, and what is the difference?

There are two type of smoke detectors for homes. One type is called an ionization detector because it monitors "ions," or
electrically charged particles. Smoke particles entering the sensing chamber change the electrical balance of the air. The detector's
horn will sound when the change in electrical balance reaches a preset level.

The other type of detector is called photoelectric because its sensing chamber uses a beam of light and a ilght sensor. Smoke
particles entering the chamber change the amount of light that reaches the light sensor. The detector sounds when the smoke density
reaches a preset level.

Is one type better than the other?

The ioinization detector responds faster to small smoke particles, while the photoelectric responds faster to large smoke particles.
As a rule of thumb, fast-flaming fires produce more small smoke particles and smoldering fires produce more large particles. Thus,
the response time of the two type of detectors will vary, depending on the mix of small and large smoke particles in the fire. But test
results show that the differences in response time are small enough that both types provide enough time to escape.

What is more important, the type of detector or the number?

The number of detectors is more important than the type. Installing several smoke detectors of each type will provide better
coverage in the extreme cases of long-term smoldering or fast flaming fires. But since both types respond in time to escape, the
most important thing is to install enough detectors in the proper locations. Detectors are available with both types of sensors in the
same unit, but they are more expensive than models with a single sensor. If the coise is between having only one of each type or
having more of the same type, more detectors is the better choice.

My detector goes off when I cook. How can I stop this?

Smoke detectors are designed to be very sensitive so they will alert occupants to a fire in time for them to escape. If a detector
regularly responds to smoke from cooking, there are several options for handling this problem. One way is to replace the detector
with one that has a button that sliences it for a few minutes. Another way is to move the detector farther away, giving the smoke a
chance to dissapate. Moving a ceiling-mounted detector to a wall can also reduce nuisance alarms. However, this will also make it
a little slower to respond to a real fire.

If the detector is the ionization type, another option is to replace it with a photoelectric. This detector is less sensitive to smaller
smoke particles and thus is less affected by cooking smoke.

How can I test my detector?

Every smoke detector comes with a test button. We recomend that people test their detectors regularly, at least once a month.

How can I test my detector?

Every smoke detector comes with a test button. We recommend that people test their detectors regularly, at least once a month.

Should I use real smoke to test my detectors?

This is not recommended because the burning objects used to create the smoke might cause a fire. Some stores sell pressurized
cans of simulated smoke for this purpose. When using this product, follow the operating instructions and do not get the can too
close to the detector. This prevents the smoke from coating the detector's sensing chamger, which can make the detector

How important is it to clean my detector?

Cleaning is easy. Just vacuum the detector at least once a year. This will keep the openings to the sensing chamber free of dust,
residue from cooking vapors and insects.

What about changing batteries?

Smoke detector batteries should last at least one year under normal conditions. The biggest reason that smoke detectors don't
work is because people remove the batteries, e.g., to stop the low battery signal or a nuisance alarm, and forget to replace them.
When a battery reaches the end of its service life, the detector will give a short beep every minute or so. It is easy to remove the
battery and then forget to replace it. The best way to prevent this is to replace batteries at the same time each year before the low
battery signal begins.

A Family Disaster Plan should include a Family Disaster
Supplies Kit.

Let each member of the family help put it together. The
kit should include:

A first aid kit
A battery-operated radio, flashlight, and extra
Bath size towels
Plastic garbage bags
Wide tape
A county map
Bottled water (at least 3 gallons of water per
Non-perishable snack food
List of family medications, eyeglasses, hearing aids

Ask one person to be responsible for replacing water
every three months and food every six months. Batteries
should also be replaced on a regular basis.

Tape the call letters and frequency numbers of your
emergency alert radio stations (EAS) on the radio and
make sure everyone knows how to work the radio and put
in fresh batteries. Also tape the channel number of the
television emergency broadcast stations on your TV.

Every member of the family should know where the
Family Disaster Supplies Kit is located--it should be
stored within easy reach.

If you are a parent, don't assume that you will always be
with your children in an emergency. Make sure they
know how to protect themselves if you are not available
to help.

At the beginning of the school year, take time to study the
school or day care center emergency protective action
plan, and discuss it with your children and their