Types Of Fire Alarms

What are the different types of fire alarms available for your home & Workplace?

Fire is one of the most destructive forces and it can completely destroy your home. While we all take great measures to protect our homes and families with up to date security systems, a fire alarm isn’t necessarily something we consider. A fire alarm is a simple yet crucial piece of tech that can save lives and property.

More than 200 people in the United Kingdom die due to house fires each year. Deaths often occur between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when people are asleep. Ensuring your home or the property you let has properly working fire alarms can be the difference between life and death.

Modern fire alarms come in different models and have been designed to sense various elements of smoke to protect your property. Due to more synthetic material used in homes today, fires can spread far quicker than in the past when more natural furnishing and fittings were used.

Different fire alarms for your home

Optical Fire Alarm

An optical fire alarm has a pulsed infra-red LED light that pulses every 10 seconds to check for particles of smoke. Optical fire alarms sense large, light scatter smoke particles. These particles come from smoldering or slow-burning fires that can cause damage due to the smoke they let off.

One of the problems with optical fire alarms is they cannot be used near bathrooms with poor ventilation. They can sound-off due to steam from a hot shower. Optical fire alarms are best suited in ground floor hallways, bedrooms, or near kitchens. However, too close to kitchens could cause an optical fire alarm to go off due to cooking.

Ionisation alarms

While optical fire alarms are suited to detect large smoke particles from smoldering fires, ionisation alarms are optimised to detect small smoke particles from fast burning fires. Ionisation alarms are best used on landings. They are not suitable for kitchens as false alarms can be sounded due to the smoke, steam, and fumes of cooking food.

Ionisation alarms are no longer recommended by the UK Fire and Rescue Services. The reason for the organisation’s move away from ionisation alarms is due to their propensity to misfire and activate falsely. It has been found that ionisation alarms are not as good at detecting house fires as optical fire alarms.

Multi-sensor alarms

Multi-sensor alarms have the capabilities of detecting both smoke and temperature, the two products of a fire. A multi-sensor alarm is superior to the traditional types of fire alarms as it possesses two functions for detecting fires. Traditional fire alarms offer just one way of detecting fires which is smoke.

Multi-sensor alarms can activate earlier than traditional alarms due to their ability to detect the two byproducts of fire. However, they have been found to false alarm less often than traditional fire alarms in certain situations.

It is recommended that multi-sensor alarms be placed in hallways and stairwells adjoining bathrooms. This placement should reduce the number of false alarms that occur. Multi-sensor fire alarms can also come equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm function.

Heat alarms

Heat alarms are best suited for placement in kitchens due to their ability to sense a rise in temperature but not smoke. These alarms provide fewer false alarms due to an insensitivity to smoke, thus making them ideal in kitchens.

Heat alarms can detect a rapid increase in temperatures which makes them good for use in garages. Fumes from garages can be detected by ionisation fire alarms and optical fire alarms and activated.

One of the issues with heat alarms is that they shouldn’t be used in an interconnected fire alarm system. Heat alarms cannot detect smoke which prevents them from activating when smoke particles are present.

Carbon monoxide detector

Carbon monoxide is deadly and can seep into you home. A carbon monoxide detector works in a very similar way to a fire alarm. However, instead of detecting fire and smoke, a carbon monoxide detector alerts when the deadly gas is found.

The detector is activated when a specific amount of carbon monoxide is found in the air over a certain amount of time. If the build-up of carbon monoxide is high, then the detector’s sensor will sound-off. Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed in certain areas and not above kitchen sinks, next to doors or windows, or in an enclosed space.

How to maintain a fire alarm after installation

Fire alarms can save lives but if they are not maintained overtime, they won’t work properly. Fire alarms must be checked regularly to make sure they are in work order. It is also important to clean the fire alarms to ensure they work properly.

A build-up of dust can cause issues with its ability to detect fire and smoke. Fire alarms can be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment. Making sure the fire alarms are in good working order can save lives. It is important to test smoke alarms once a month to ensure the batteries are working.

Where to install fire alarms in the home

Fire alarms should be installed inside each bedroom in a property. You should also place fire alarms outside of each bedroom in hallways. In addition to these areas, a fire alarm should be placed on the ground floor of the property and inside the basement.

You should also install fire alarms in living rooms or near stairways on floors that do not have bedrooms. Smoke alarms should be installed on ceilings or high on walls as smoke rises. The positioning allows smoke alarms to detect smoke far quicker than if they are placed lower on a wall.

Fire alarms shouldn’t be installed near windows and doors. The location can cause false alarms to activate due to drafts. It is important to remember never to paint a fire alarm as this can damage it and prevent it from working properly.

Ensuring you have working fire alarms in your home is important. Smoke alarms save lives and reduce property damage. You may also wish to purchase fire extinguishers for your home which can come in handy and also save lives.

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