Inspecting Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors can make all the difference between life and death when they are working properly. Their purpose is to go off when there is dense smoke in a house, which either enables you to evacuate your home, or put out a fire if it is safe enough to do so. The problem with smoke detectors is that they cannot safe lives if they are no longer working, or are faulty in one way or another. Therefore everyone should inspect their smoke detectors on a regular basis to make sure that they are still fully functional and working without a problem. Depending on the age and the make of smoke detectors there are ways to inspect and also to test that they are still working. Regularly inspecting your smoke detectors could safe your life and those of your family should your home ever catch fire.
Home safety: How to inspect your smoke detectors
The makers of smoke detectors as well as local firefighting services both recommend that people inspect their detectors upon a regular basis. The vast majority of smoke detectors have self-testing buttons or switches built into them. All you have to do is press the button or press the switch. If the smoke detector is in full working order then it will give out a short burst of the alarm siren at maximum volume. It is only a sharp burst of sound to reassure you that the alarm does sound and that it is loud enough to be heard all over your home. Smoke detectors should be checked at least a month, and may be as frequently as once a week.
If it does not work then check to see if the batteries need replacing, or if there is another kind of fault with it. As most smoke detectors are relatively inexpensive simply replace any alarms that cannot be fixed with new ones. A few new smoke detectors are money well spent, especially in the event of a fire, and again these should be inspected on a regular basis.
In most cases if the detectors are not working and there is not a fault then the problem lies generally with the batteries. So if you use the self-test button or switch and there is no alarm going off then change the batteries. Should it still not work then check for lose wires and connections. Once you have inspected the wires and connections but cannot find out what is broken or faulty then replace the detector as quickly as possible.
The bulk of smoke detectors will bleep to warn you that the batteries are running low and need to be replaced with immediate affect. The bleeping is designed to indicate that new batteries need to be installed without you having to inspect the detectors. Besides the bleeping is a warning to look at the smoke detector in between your regular inspections of it. Having an adequate supply of replacement batteries is good practice; the cost of a new battery could safe your life.
One last thing to inspect is the location of your smoke detectors. You need to get the balance right between detecting smoke in the event of a fire, and setting off the alarm simply because something has got burnt in the kitchen. For advise about the best place to locate your smoke detectors contact your local fire fighting service. They can fit the detectors for you and even show you how to inspect the detectors if you are not sure you can do it properly.