Smoke Alarms: An Electrical Installation to Improve the Safety of your Los Angeles Home
Many people have one or two battery operated smoke alarms in their homes but don’t bother to check them regularly, or fail to replace the battery when it has run out. Others deliberately remove the battery for use somewhere else or because the alarm beeps when they are cooking. All these issues mean that the alarms are not ready to protect your family and your Los Angeles home if a fire breaks out. A relatively simple electrical installation can greatly improve your chances of staying safe.
It is estimated that it only takes three minutes for a fire to take hold. That is a very short time for you to get everybody out of your home and in a safe place. Even if your smoke alarms are working, do you have enough and are they in the right places? If a fire starts when everybody is asleep, will you hear the alarm in time? Will a fire already be raging before any smoke reaches the location of the detectors?
Rather than rely on battery operated smoke detectors, a more reliable solution is to have an alarm system hard-wired into your electricity supply. These detectors still contain batteries, to function as a back up power supply in the event of an outage and so should also be checked at least once a year to ensure they are working properly.
As well as having detectors that are fully functioning, a key aspect of protecting your home is to have enough detectors in the right places. There should be at least one on every floor of the building, including the basement and the garage. For maximum safety, have an alarm fitted in each bedroom and one in the hallways between bedrooms. In the kitchen, your smoke detector should be positioned at least 10 feet away from your cooker to prevent false alarms. If you have insufficient space, ask your electrician for a detector with a hush button, which allows it to be temporarily silenced.
Another significant advantage of having hard-wired smoke detectors is that they are all connected to each other. So if one alarm sounds, they all do. This means that a fire in your basement will trigger the alarms in the bedrooms, giving you and your family time to evacuate the house before you are in danger. Those precious extra seconds can make all the difference between risk and personal safety as well as enabling you to contact the emergency services at the earliest opportunity.
At the same time as having smoke detectors fitted, it is worth considering installing carbon monoxide (CO) detectors as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that at least 200 deaths per year result from CO poisoning. CO has no discernible smell or taste but can have devastating effects. It is a by product of combustion and can quickly accumulate in unventilated areas.
Consult a licensed electrical contractor about the most suitable locations for detectors and the best type for your cicrumstances. Fitting a system of hard-wired smoke detectors requires a professional to undertake the electrical installation. The National Fire Protection Assocaition reckon that the risk of death is halved by having a properly working smoke alarm system, so make sure your Los Angeles home is as safe as it can be from the dangers of fire.