Checking and Maintaining Your Smoke Alarms Regularly

13 April 2023

Building fires can be devastating, especially if they are not extinguished as soon as possible. However, with the right fire safety equipment, property owners can expect some parts of their buildings to be saved from fire damage. They may likewise allow occupants to escape minutes before the affected areas are filled with smoke and harmful fire compounds.

Many fire safety equipment can be installed in buildings to make them safe from fire. Fire extinguishers, for instance, can be maximised so occupants can put out a fire during its initial phase. Fire sprinklers can also help in putting out a fire by discharging water to the affected area. As for notifying occupants, property owners can take advantage of smoke alarms.

The Significance of Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are devices that can sense the presence of smoke, which is often an indicator of a nearby fire. The components that can detect this specific fire element are often enclosed in plastic. These fire safety devices are often shaped like a disk that can vary mostly in size.

Generally, smoke alarms can be helpful to property owners and occupants since they can notify them right away of any fire presence. They serve as the first step toward the safety of people who might be inside the property as a fire slowly ignites and spreads across rooms.

These fire safety devices work by sensing small particles in the air through different technologies. Some can trigger their alarm once smoke particles have entered their internal chamber, scattered the beam, and redirected it to a photocell. Others, alternatively, may trigger their alarm once smoke enters their chamber, disrupt the flow of ions, and reduce the current flow. The former is known to be more responsive to smouldering fires, while the latter can be effective in detecting flaming fires.

Smoke Alarms Should Be Inspected

The AS3786 standard clearly states that smoke alarms should come with a serial number or batch number so that people can know their manufacturing dates. Knowing this date, after all, can help property owners gauge the service life of their smoke alarms. It can also help them decide whether to have their smoke alarms replaced or not.

Inspections should also be made to smoke alarms. From their positioning to their general condition, inspecting them can identify their effectiveness.

Interconnected smoke alarms should be present in bedrooms, living spaces, and garages on one’s property. Smoke alarms must also be installed on each level of a property. If an inspector finds out that the smoke alarms are not present in the said rooms or are not installed properly, they will immediately relay this information to the property owners so they can get them repositioned right away. An inspector will also check the condition of the smoke alarms by testing their capability to detect smoke as well as notify the occupants.

Maintaining Smoke Alarms Properly

The effectiveness of smoke alarms can be retained if they are maintained regularly. Every month, they should be tested to check if their batteries and the alarm work. Smoke alarms must then be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner to remove any dust or particles every six months. Once a year, the battery of the smoke alarms should be replaced. And every 10 years, smoke alarms should be removed, replaced, and disposed of properly.