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Fire & Smoke Alarm Safety

Fire & Smoke Alarm Safety

Fire Alarms Fitting or Inspecting Blackheath

There are different types of fire and smoke alarms that you would find used in a home; ionization detector, photoelectric and heat, but what do fire and smoke alarms actually do?

Fire and smoke alarms are self-contained devices which detect and give warning of a fire.

They are designed to detect the risks or the starting of a fire with enough time for you to put out the fire, or get out the property. Having an alarm is extremely important to warn the occupants of a building of the chance of a fire.

You need to check the battery regularly by testing it – you may need to replace it if necessary. Electricians Blackheath offer fire safety checks and we are also able to supply, fit and install fire, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for all types of properties.

How do Fire and Smoke Alarms Work?

  • Ionization Alarms – This type of alarm features an ionization chamber with two plates and a source for ionizing radiation inside it. The battery in the alarm sends voltages to the plates, charging one negative and the other one positive. The source of radiation, decays and emits alpha particles at a constant rate. The particles then ionize as they travel through the chamber. The electrons, now free, have a negative charge and are attracted to the ‘positive’ plate. Now a small but constant current is maintained between the plates, so when smoke enters the chamber it disrupts and kills the current – triggering the alarms. These doctors do not pose a threat to your health despite the radiation, due to the design.
  • Photoelectric Alarms – This type of alarm works via a light-emitting diode which sends a beam of light across the of a chamber which is shaped like a T. At the bottom of T there is a photocell which detects light. With smoke entering the chamber, the light hits it, gets scattered and strikes the photocell. It requires a certain amount of light to hits the cell to triggers an electrical current that activates the alarm. These detectors are less sensitive than the ionization detector and are designed to detect smokier fires.
  • Heat Detectors – This type of alarm this insensitive to smoke. Instead it detects a dramatic rise in temperature, that has potentially become abnormal. Because of this these are usually installed in a kitchen. They only cover small areas, so in larger rooms you should consider alternatives or installing two, if it is a kitchen.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms and Poisoning

The poisonous gas Carbon Monoxide can be produced by unsafe gas appliances; when the appliance is poorly marinated, faulty or not fitted correctly. Carbon Monoxide poisoning (CMP) can be deadly and can cause long-term health problems, especially brain damage. The poisoning occurs when you breathe in the gas, replacing the oxygen in your bloodstream.

The main symptoms are:

  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Collapsing
  • Breathlessness

It is a further sign of CMP if you only get the symptoms at home, and seem to disappear when you are not at home.

Having a Carbon Monoxide alarm is vital in your home. The alarm will alert you of the presence of the poisonous gas the air. Fire and smoke alarms do not detect Carbon Monoxide, so it is important to have a detector. You can buy one from most DIY stores and supermarkets for cheap, but make sure you get one marked to EN 50291 and has the British Standards Kitemark mark on it. It is advised an alarm is installed in every room with a gas appliance.