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What Types of Smoke Alarms are best for you?

For anyone contemplating fire safety training, understanding that key to evacuating a building in a timely manner lies with people knowing what to do. But, fire safety training should go further: it looks at the hazards present that could lead to fire.

Continually monitoring a home for fire hazards is one part of the equation; having equipment to help you is important and thus, the right type of smoke alarm saves lives.

There are two types of smoke alarms, both of which work in different ways:

Ionisation alarms

Ionising alarms work by ionising the air between two electrodes. Smoke particles change the balance of this current which then sends a signal to the circuit. As a result, the alarm sounds.

These alarms are considered sensitive, offering great protection but are easily triggered by normal cooking processes and procedures. They should be situated away from the kitchen and suit dustier areas, such as loft spaces etc.

Optical alarms

These are light sensor alarms and work by sending out a beam of light every few seconds to check for smoke particles. If it detects smoke, the infrared light will be scattered, triggering the alarm.

Great for bedrooms, landing and hallways, these types of alarms can also be situated near kitchens as they detect larger smoke particles from a fire that is already smouldering.

Other alarms – heat alarms

These alarms detect heat rather than smoke. A fire, as fire safety training will tell you, is well established at 58°c and it is at this temperature that this alarm will sound.

In some ways, this makes the key benefit being their versatility to be placed anywhere in the home but, as they only sound when they detect heat, the fire could be well underway.

What else do you need to consider?

Some people opt for mains-powered smoke or fire alarms as this means they do not have to be concerned about dead batteries and so on. Always use a qualified electrician to fit mains-powered alarms.

There are also examples of fire alarms within a property being connected. In a larger property, this can be incredibly beneficial. For those people with sensory impairments, vibrating pads and flashing lights can also be part of a smoke alarm system.

Safety first!

Smoke alarms are an early warning system to a potential fire in any building. There are stories time and time again of families escaping a blazing home because the smoke alarms did their job, delivering a warning. Can you afford not to have a smoke alarm?