Rather Be Safe Than Sorry
No one can deny smoke detectors are simple but valuable objects for preventing fatal house fires. But smoke detectors don’t always prevent the tragic loss of life. Battery-operated detectors work only when they have fresh, functioning batteries inside. Hard-wired detectors operate only if they’re properly installed and have a constant energy source. Short-circuits in wired models—a more common problem than we like to think—can actually spark fires. Homeowners commonly install detectors incorrectly, or install them correctly but fail to maintain them. Even the best detector cannot do its job correctly if it’s poorly installed or maintained.
This one terrifying event proves detectors are not “fireproof” even if the best plan is used. Chris Brooke from Daily Mail reports that in 2011, the national fire service of England conducted a nationwide fire prevention campaign to reduce home fires. Of all competing competitors, The Fire Angel ST 620 detector was supplied because of its quality and reliability to fire and rescue services for this campaign. This detector is now on alert after one caught fire in a home after ideal and professional installation. Despite the high quality and reliability of the detector, this fired occurred after the low battery chirp sounded, then bursting into flames. Mrs. Gray, the homeowner said if her daughter Victoria not been at home to quell the flames, or worse, had she been sleeping in the house, a much worse tragedy might have occurred. The installation campaign has been suspended, which is no comfort to the fire professionals, who know full well how precarious are the homes they haven’t served, with their cheaper, less reliable detectors, poorly located, amateurishly installed by inexperienced homeowners.
New and improved detectors are always coming onto the market, usually advancing with technology. In an article by Haramis Electric, these detectors will alert emergency services automatically if a smoke detector is activated in your home. Also, if a homeowner is away from the house, an alert will still be sent to the police dispatch before the fire can spread. However, there are some disadvantages to these “smart” detectors.
These new detectors are being powered by the household power, and alert people when connected to WiFi. Loss of internet service, power outages, and an unreliable wifi signal can mean that your device won’t be able to send an alert when you need them the most. Natural disasters and other incidents may occur causing this connection to be lost. As a firefighter, if there is a storm that has high winds and heavy rain, we receive many calls for power lines being down. When they are down, detectors in households no longer receive the power needed to operate and detect smoke.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Smart Smoke Detectors. (2016, September 08). Retrieved March 19, 2018, from http://www.haramiselectric.com/blog/advantagesdisadvantages-smart-smoke-detectors/
Brooke, C. (2011, November 08). Fire services on alert after smoke detector is blamed for causing TWO blazes. Retrieved April 05, 2018, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2058922/Firefighters-forced-stop-handing-smoke-alarms-catches-alight-nearly-burns-house.html
Smoke Detector Beeping: Maintenance Is Likely Required. (2009, June 22). Retrieved March 19, 2018, from https://www.doityourself.com/stry/smoke-detector-beeping-maintenance-is-likely-required