I get an email of links to mostly political pieces from the Daily Kos every day, and that's how I became aware of the following. Personally, I have no idea whether the three smoke detectors we have in this house are photoelectric, ionization or parthenogenic [smirk!], but at least we got 'em ... and in any case, I found it to be a well written article and thought I'd pass it on.
I recently got a set of smoke alarms for review purposes. In the process of installing them and writing them up, I ended up learning more about smoke alarms in general, and thought it worth passing it on. If you haven't taken a look at smoke alarms lately, there's a lot you really need to know.
If you don't currently have any smoke alarms where you live, get some! The warning they give can save your life. The classic scenario, of a fire starting while people are sleeping? All too often, if a room is filling with smoke, it's not going to wake you up in time to escape. Smoke alone can kill; add in heated air and toxic fumes and it gets far worse. Even if you do wake in time, you would not believe how quickly smoke can fill a room with smoke too thick to see through. The earlier the warning you have, the better!
Okay - you have smoke alarms in place. When was the last time you tested them? When was the last time you changed the batteries? (And if you rent or lease, does the property owner take care of them?) Constant vigilance! Assuming they work, do you have escape routes planned out for your home? (Or your workplace?) It's not something you want to be figuring out in a room, crawling on the floor with the smoke too thick to see anything. (Here's a tool to make it easy.)
So far, so good - or is it? It turns out there are more things you need to know about smoke detectors if you really want to do everything you can to be safe. Old batteries are not the only thing you have to worry about; smoke detectors can become ineffective as they age; 10 years is considered the point at which replacement should be considered.
Read the rest here.
Manufacturers would really hate parthenogenic smoke detectors -- you'd never have to buy another one! :-)
Seriously, scientist Don Russell's demonstration of ionization technology taking 36 minutes to detect a slow, smoldering couch fire was scary! It's good to know that you should have both ionization and photoelectric detectors, and it's possible to get combination smoke alarms.
Our smoke alarms are probably getting too old. I don't know their detection method.
They tell me when the batteries start getting low, by an annoying beep every few minutes. Even so, there is some holiday - is it labor day - when the newspeople say get new batteries, and I do then.
Now and the I leave a burner on and the smoke alarm warns me. So I suppose they work.
Our house has ways to exit safely from every room. At my workplace, they sometimes have fire drills, and track what everyone does to make sure we are out quickly.
I worry about what would happen to the dogs is there is a fire while I am at work. I want a smoke alarm that sends a push message to my iphone and ipad.
I don't know about earthquake safety. An earthquake alarm is probably not needed - duh, you know it's happening - but what is the safe thing to do? When the kitchen was redone they reinforced the joists and beams, so maybe that's the place to be. Or outside.
This is where I have an interesting advantage: I own a DVM. For those who don't know, DVM means Digital Volt Meter. It was part of my kit back in my days as a field service engineer. It's useful because I can check the level of the batteries on our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change them not on some mindless twice a year schedule, but when they have lost voltage to the point where they are, indeed, in need of change.
And as to detection method, I don't know, but I DO know this: every time my wife makes burgers or sometimes lamb chops, our upstairs detector goes off ... so I don't worry much about being caught unawares should a fire ever visit our domicile.