Home Fire Prevention & Smoke Alarm Care and Use

Home Fire Prevention & Smoke Alarm Care and Use | #ESC_LLC #House #Home Fire| Despite all the fire detection equipment that we  have available, the fact remains, there are far too many  people dying in residential fires in the United States.  

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According to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) of Quincy, MA, “Every 24 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. Although the number of fires and fire deaths have decreased significantly since the 1970’s, some statistics are more troubling. We continue to analyze fire data to better understand the fire problem and its trends” (http://bit.ly/2QPEnEY). 

To give you a better idea as to the extent of the fire problem in the U.S., NFPA published a report entitled ‘Fire Loss in the United States During 2017,’ released in October of this year. Here is the opening statement in that report: 

National Fire Protection Association. 

United States fire departments responded to an estimated 1,319,500 fires in 2017. These fires resulted in 3,400 civilian fire fatalities, 14,670 civilian fire injuries and an estimated $23 billion in direct property loss (this figure includes a $10 billion loss in Northern California wildfires). There was a civilian fire death every 2 hours and 34 minutes and a civilian fire injury every 36 minutes 2017. Home fires caused 2,630, or 77%, of the civilian fire deaths. Fires accounted for four percent of the 34,683,500 total calls. Seven percent of the calls were false alarms; 64% of the calls were for medical aid such as emergency medical services (EMS) or rescues.

Ben Evarts, NFPA

As stated above, 77 percent of all fires in the U.S. were in residential settings accounting for more than 2500 deaths, or 77 percent of all civilian fire deaths. That’s huge and it’s avoidable, especially in a developed, industrialized nation such as the United States. 

An ESC fire tech replaces a smoke detector.
An ESC fire tech replaces a smoke detector.

As you know, we at ESC have our finger on the pulse of society by way of our news feed. We work to bring you relevant, interesting, sometimes entertaining news articles that we believe will assist you in both your personal and vocational life. During the course of this work, we’ve noticed that one of the major issues that fire investigators have found is that in a significant number of cases where there are fire deaths, there are no working smoke alarms in the home. Most of the time, it’s due to either dead batteries or no batteries (where someone removed them and did not return to  replace them). 

[picture of fire]
The type of fire must be considered when purchasing smoke alarms.

The other issue that we’ve seen is the use of the wrong smoke alarm in the wrong setting. In this case, the use of ionization smoke alarms where a photoelectric detector would best serve the residential setting it’s in. The technologies related to both are radically different. Ionization smoke alarms respond faster to a fire where there’s more flame than smoke whereas a photoelectric smoke alarm responds faster where there’s more smoke than fire. Ionization detectors look for a smaller, lighter smoke particle than photoelectric detectors. In residential settings there will likely be larger, heavier smoke particles than that of the lighter ones; hence, photoelectric smoke alarms work better in  homes than ionization smoke detectors.

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ESC’s Senior Partner John Larkin says, “If you have a security or life-safety issue that you need help with, give me a call at 614-754-1393.”

Remember, no one knows when there’s going to be a fire. If they did, they would have the fire department there before the fire happens. Do the right thing by first assuring that you’re using the right smoke detector, and second, that it’s cared for throughout the  years because when a fire occurs, you expect your smoke alarms to take care of you.

“The following are blog articles available on ESC’s current and former websites. Most of them involve the do’s and don’ts of fire prevention and detection,” says ESC’s Senior Partner John Larkin. 

To learn about fire extinguishers, click here.
To learn about ESC fire extinguishers, for home and commercial use,  please click here.

The Importance of Quality Inspection & Testing | Smoke detectors are one of the most important life safety items in commercial office buildings, retail businesses, schools, and other facilities. They are commonly called “early warning devices” because that is what they do, give us early warning of a fire in progress. For this reason, smoke detectors are extremely important to include in your facility maintenance and service scheduling. The lives they save cannot be measured. (click here)

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ESC installs, services, and inspects fire protection systems, such as sprinklers. For  more info, click here.

Why are photoelectric smoke alarms better than ionization detectors? |The difference in performance between the two detectors is simply this: Where a ionization smoke alarm works best in a raging fire in a commercial environment where the smoke particulates (particles) are relatively small, the photoelectric smoke alarm works better in a residential setting where the smoke particles are relatively big. This kind of fire is usually found in a home where there are carpets, draperies, bed spreads, couches, chairs, tables, clothes, and other household items.

The difference between the two technologies is as different as night is to day. Photoelectric smoke alarms rely on a smoke chamber and the reflective properties of a large diameter smoke particle. A photoelectric emitter at one end of a narrow passage leads to a dead end. A passage that intersects the first at an angle contains a photo receptor capable of receiving light when the same is reflected from smoke particles that enter the chamber. (click  here)

Replace residential smoke alarms every 10 years per fire code.

Replace Your Home Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years |Home smoke alarms, also called single- and multiple-station smoke alarms, should be, by National Fire Code (NFC), replaced every 10 years.
“According to NFPA, aging smoke alarms don’t operate as efficiently and often are the source for nuisance alarms. Older smoke alarms are estimated to have a 30% probability of failure within the first 10 years. Newer smoke alarms do better, but should be replaced after 10 years. Unless you know that the smoke alarms are new, replacing them when moving into a new residence is also recommended by NFPA” (NFPA urges replacing home smoke alarms after 10, National Fire Prevention Association, Quincy, Mass.) For more information, click here.

This rechargeable battery has half it's original capacity in 3 years of it's 5-year life expectancy.
This rechargeable battery has half it’s original capacity in 3 years of it’s 5-year life expectancy.

Battery Life and the Need for Routine Service Inspections |There are several factors that determine the ultimate lifespan of a rechargeable battery. The definition above presents one of the most important of those factors: number of charge/discharge cycles, also referred to as “cycle fade.” The fact is, no one can tell you how many times your fire alarm batteries will discharge and then be charged over the course of time. If your facility is located in an area that rarely sees power outages, if the power grid also rarely sees high-voltage spikes and other anomalies, then your batteries will last longer than those that reside in geographic areas where storms and other factors adversely affect quality of power to the fire alarm panel. To read more, click here.

picture of john larkin and the company logo
ESC’s Senior Partner John Larkin says, “If you have a security or life-safety issue that you need help with, give me a call at 614-754-1393, use our contact page (click here), or reach out using one of the links below. As always, ESC has your back. Give us a chance to prove it!”