5 Do I Need a Smoke Alarm?Working Smoke Alarms can cut the chance of dying in a home fire nearly in halfThey provide extra “critical time for safe escape.Most home fires occur at night when people are sleeping.Most home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke alarmsResidential Smoke Alarm Installation
6 We Will Cover: What smoke alarms are Types of smoke alarm sensors Installation of Smoke AlarmsMaintenance of smoke alarms and detectorsWhat nuisance alarms are and some steps that can be taken to avoid themSome problems that affect smoke alarms
7 Smoke Alarms Are…Electronic devices designed to detect the presence of a fire and sound an alarmThey generally consist of:One or more sensorsA triggering circuitAn alarm amplifier and hornA power supply
8 Purpose of Smoke Alarms Detect presence of combustion productsProvide warning to persons in the structure (and, in some cases, to remote monitoring stations)Primary purpose of warning is to facilitate escape of persons in the structureSecondary purpose is to initiate an early response by Fire Department
9 Smoke Detectors Are Used In… Industrial FacilitiesStorage and Shipping FacilitiesOffice BuildingsRetail Stores
10 Smoke Alarms Are Used In… Residential Facilities and Private HomesIn this seminar we will focus primarily on residential smoke alarms
11 Smoke Alarm Vs Smoke Detector MisconceptionsThe terms smoke alarm and smoke detector sometimes are used interchangeably to refer to smoke alarms.Although similar the two terms refer to different pieces of equipment.SMOKE ALARMS are self-contained units with a sensor that detects smoke, and an audio and/or visual stimulus to alert occupants of a fire.SMOKE DETECTORS are not self-contained and must be wired with an additional alarm system to alert individuals in an emergency.
13 Self-Contained Alarms Most commonly found in single-family dwellings and small apartment buildingsSeldom linked to fire suppression or external notification systemsLinked independent alarms are becoming more common in new construction
16 Types of Smoke Alarm Sensors There are two primary types of smoke alarm sensors:Ionization sensorsPhotoelectric sensorsSome alarms also include other types of safety sensors, such as heat sensors, or carbon monoxide sensors
17 Ionization SensorsBest at detecting fast, flaming fires like grease firesDetect combustion particles of .01 to 3 microns (an average human hair is about 90 microns)Most sensitive to dark or black smokeSensitive to steam, so they may produce false alarms if installed near kitchens or bathrooms
18 How Ionization Sensors Work Use a weak radiation source (Americium 241) to ionize the air in a detector chamberThe ionized air conducts an electrical currentThe detector circuit senses this current; if it is present, the alarm does not soundSmoke particles interfere with the current flow; when the current is reduced, the alarm sounds
20 Photoelectric Sensors Best at detecting slow, smoldering fires like furniture ignited by a cigaretteDetect combustion particles of .3 to 10 micronsMost sensitive to light gray smokeNot very sensitive to steam, so they are better for use near kitchens or bathroomsHigher power requirements than ionization
21 How Photoelectric Sensors Work An LED creates a beam of infrared light in the detector chamberThe detector circuit senses this light; if it is present, the alarm does not soundSmoke particles scatter the light, and reduce the amount that reaches the detector; when the amount of light is reduced, the alarm sounds
23 Smoke Alarm Power Sources AC power (“hard wired”) – linked to normal AC wiring systemMost new detectors have a battery backup in case AC power failsBatteries9 volt carbon zinc (“general purpose”)9 volt alkaline9 volt lithium (“ten year battery”)
24 AC PowerMost dependable (at least if backup batteries are maintained properly)Cost-competitive with battery power for new construction but expensive to retrofit in older buildings
25 Battery (DC) PowerFairly dependable if batteries are checked and replaced consistentlyInexpensive and easy to install, even in older buildingsOften used as the primary power source for self-contained independent alarms
26 Smoke Alarm Maintenance Smoke Alarms require regular maintenance, which includes:Maintenance of Power SupplyCleaning of Sensor and Air PassagesRegular TestingReplacement of outdated Alarms
28 Power Supply Maintenance For AC powered alarms:Check AC power supply monthly (or more often)Replace backup batteries as recommended by the alarm manufacturerFor battery powered alarms:Test alarm monthly (or as directed by manufacturer)Replace batteries:Every six months for general purpose or alkaline batteriesWhen alarm signals low battery or fails test for lithium batteries
29 Cleaning Smoke AlarmsFor a smoke alarm to work properly, air must be able to flow through the detector chamber and the chamber must be free of dust and dirtA dirty detector chamber will:Reduce alarm sensitivityIncrease the chance of a nuisance alarmClean the detector by vacuuming the exterior of the alarm with a vacuum nozzleIf this isn’t an option, dust the outside of the alarm housing
30 Smoke Alarm TestingAlarms should be tested monthly, or more often if the manufacturer or codes requireMonthly by pushing test buttonAt least annually (more often recommended) by using spray or the smoke from a candleOne of the most common reasons for failed smoke alarms is a lack of regular testing
31 Smoke Alarm Testing Do not use the test button. The test button is not sufficient It only confirms that the batteries can sound the alarm horn. It does not test the smoke sensor in the unit, which could be faulty even if the horn sounds when you push the button.
32 Smoke Alarm TestingUse a small spray can of smoke detector test aerosol.Just spray some of the test material into the detector, and wait 5 to 10 seconds for a response. If the alarm sounds, you know the unit will sound in a fire. If not, you have a non- functioning smoke detector, even if it beeps when you push the button. Try changing the batteries, then repeat the test procedure. If that does not get it working, it is useless..
33 Smoke Alarm TestingDo NOT use a flame for testing a Smoke Alarm
34 Smoke Alarm TestingAlways follow the manufacturers instructions on installing, testing, replacing and maintaining smoke alarms
35 Replacing Outdated Alarms The recommended service life for most smoke alarms is ten yearsAfter that point, electronic failure becomes likelyIf the alarm is self-contained, the entire alarm should be replaced
38 Nuisance AlarmsNuisance alarms occur when the alarm sounds without a fire being presentOften called “false alarms,” but in most cases they’re not – the alarm does detect somethingUsually caused by exposing the alarm to smoke, combustion products or steamFrom tobacco smokersFrom wood-burning stoves or fireplacesFrom kitchens and bathrooms
39 Reducing Nuisance Alarms Locate alarms and sensors away from areas where they will be exposed to smoke, other combustion products or steamClean the alarm regularlyMaintain the alarm power supply (low power can sometimes trigger a true “false alarm”)Avoid activities that trigger the alarm
40 Problems With Smoke Alarms Lack of PowerUsually due to failure to test alarm and replace battery as neededElectronic failureRare, but it happens – testing is important!Deliberately disabled alarmsUsually due to nuisance alarms, but may also be done to get alarm battery
41 Ways to Reduce Problems Test alarms regularlyWill identify lack of power or electronic failureReplace batteries as neededPlace alarms properly to avoid nuisance alarmsSeal alarms to protect battery
42 Other Potential Improvements Building codes requiring hard-wired (AC) alarms with battery backupUse of long life lithium batteries (which last up to ten years) instead of general purpose or alkaline batteries
44 Provisions of NBCAt least one functional smoke alarm on every occupied level of the homeThis includes basementsIt does not include attics, cellars and other areas that are not generally occupied, but…You can put an alarm in an area where a fire could easily start, even if the area is not usually occupied – so long as that area is not too hot, cold or dusty for the alarm
45 Provisions of NBC 1995(cont.) A smoke alarm should be installed outside each separate sleeping areaThis does not mean that each bedroom must have it’s own smoke alarm – one alarm in a hallway between two adjacent bedroom doors is acceptable (for existing structures)In new construction, (NBC 2010) alarms must be installed in every sleeping room
46 Main Changes 2010 CodeSmoke alarms shall be installed in each sleeping room.Shall have a manually operated silencing device to silence for not more than 10 minutes before resetting and resoundingSound patterns of smoke shall be T3
47 What Does T3 MeanT3 is a temporal pattern that consists of 3 beeps and then a pause, then 3 beeps and then a pause....etc. T3 is used for smoke detectors exclusively. T3 is the NFPA standard for new home construction and smoke detectors less than 10 years old could emit the T3 pattern.
48 Provisions of NBC(cont.) If a smoke alarm is installed in or near a kitchen the alarm must be photoelectric or have a “silence” button (“hush” button)This is because ionization alarms are very sensitive to steamThis is also a good idea for alarms installed near bathrooms, though the code doesn’t actually require them to be photoelectric
49 Provisions of NBC(cont.) All smoke alarms installed in homes should be tested regularlyMonthly, or more often if the manufacturer recommends it; many manufacturers recommend weekly testsAll residential smoke alarms should be replaced when they are ten years oldWhere more than one smoke alarm is required in a dwelling unit, the smoke alarms shall be wired so that the activation of one alarm will cause all alarms within the dwelling unit to sound.
50 NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code Developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)Covers all types of fire alarm systems in many different types of occupancieswe will focus on the standards for residential smoke alarms
51 Provisions of NFPA 72 – the National Fire Alarm Code – that cover residential smoke alarms Proper smoke alarm selectionLocations where you should – and should not – install residential smoke alarms
52 The importance of the alarm instructions Methods for mounting the alarmThe importance of the alarm instructionsThe importance of fire safety educationTips for doing an effective smoke alarm installation and fire safety education visit
53 Alarm SelectionIf you want to use an alarm with a long life lithium battery, you will have to use an alarm with an ionization sensorPhotoelectric alarms require more power and are not currently offered with lithium batteries
54 Alarm Selection (cont.) If the power source is not a limitation, use the type of alarm most suitable for the sitePhotoelectric alarms work best in or near kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and other areas where steam may be presentBoth sensor types work well in other areasUse hardwired (AC powered) linked alarms in new construction
55 Alarm LocationInstalling smoke alarms in proper locations is importantAlarms that are installed in the wrong location may:Not provide adequate warning of fire or smokeFail prematurely due to heat, cold, etc.Produce nuisance alarms
56 Alarm Location (cont.)Install at least one alarm on each occupied level of the house – including the basement, NBC 1995 refersInstall at least one alarm outside each separate bedroom areaYou may need to install alarms inside a bedroom in special circumstances, such as where a resident smokes in bed
57 Example of Separate Sleeping Areas Alarm Location (cont.)Example of Separate Sleeping AreasSmoke Alarm
58 Alarm Location (cont.) Do not install smoke alarms… In or near kitchens, bathrooms or laundry rooms, if the alarm has an ionization sensorIn attics, cellars or other areas that become very hot, cold or dustyOn un-insulated exterior walls or ceilings that are not insulated from the roof (the alarm will get too hot and/or cold)
59 Alarm Location (cont.) Do not install smoke alarms… In the “dead air zones” that occur within two feet of any corner of a room or hallwayIn the “dead air zone” that is found within four inches of the edge of any ceiling, or the top edge of any wallIn any area where air flow is restricted or there is a very strong draft or air flow
60 Alarm Location (cont.)Example of the “dead air zone” at the boundary between a ceiling and a wallDEAD AIRZONEAcceptable mounting locations for smoke alarms
70 Preferred Placement of Alarms Whenever possible, install smoke alarms on ceilingsNear the center of the room is usually bestIf the room has an arched, vaulted or gabled ceiling, put the alarm at or near the highest point of the ceilingDo not install smoke alarms within four inches of a wall or within two feet of a corner
71 Wall Installation of Alarms Ceiling installation is preferable, but if it isn’t practical, smoke alarms may be installed on a wallInstall alarms in the narrow area at least four inches, but not more than twelve inches, below the ceilingRemember: do not install a smoke alarm on an un-insulated exterior wallFollow Manufactures' Instructions
72 Tips For Placing Alarms Try to place the alarm where a resident can reach it for testing and cleaningThis may not always be practical in rooms with high ceilingsAlways test the alarm before you attach it to the ceiling or the wallIt is much easier to replace a defective alarm or battery before the alarm is installed
73 Mounting Smoke AlarmsThere are two common methods of mounting smoke alarms to ceilings or wallsUsing screws (generally supplied with the alarm)Using industrial grade double-sided tape
74 Alarm Mounting - Screws This is the preferred method of mounting the alarmIt is recommended by the manufacturerScrews will not lose strength over timeScrews are usually included in the smoke alarm packageMasonry anchors are also usually included
75 Alarm Mounting – Screws (cont.) Mounting process:Place the alarm base or mounting plate on the ceiling or wallMark screw locations and remove the base or mounting plateDrill pilot holes or masonry anchor holesInsert masonry anchors (if needed)Place alarm base or mounting plateInsert and tighten screws
76 Why Lock or Seal the Case? It usually isn’t a good idea to lock the case of a smoke alarm that uses alkaline or general purpose batteriesIt may be a good idea to lock or seal the case of a smoke alarm that uses long life lithium batteries, to prevent the battery from being removed to disable the alarm
77 Smoke Alarm Instructions Smoke alarms are packed with detailed instructionsThese instructions often include sections in different languagesYou should read and understand the instructions before installing an alarmYou may have to explain the instructions to residents in non-technical terms
78 The Importance of Education Smoke alarms only do one thing – they detect fire or smoke and sound an alarmIn order for smoke alarms to be effective, residents must also be educatedThey must learn:How to maintain and test the alarmWhat to do if the alarm soundsHow to prevent fires
81 Education – Alarm Maintenance Smoke alarms require testing and careThe instructions packed with most smoke alarms are long and complex – many people will not read or understand themIf you install a smoke alarm for someone, you should educate them about how to test and maintain the alarmSimplify the information when needed
82 SMOKE ALARMS AND RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES Rechargeable batteries don't give you any warning when they are wearing out and can simply die at the end of their charge.As a result you will not hear a "chirp" from your smoke alarm to indicate that the battery needs replacing.A dead battery in your smoke alarm leaves you and your family unprotected. Don't use a rechargeable battery in your smoke alarm.
83 Education – Escape Planning A smoke alarm will not help someone who doesn’t know what to do when the alarm soundsEvery home should have a fire escape plan – and practice it at least yearlyExplain the need for a fire escape plan and how to develop oneProvide details and examplesWhen purchasing a smoke alarm, look for a product that has been manufactured and tested to an acceptable standard, indicated by a marking for the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC), or Underwriters Laboratories Incorporated (cUL).
84 Education – Fire Prevention The most effective way to survive a residential fire is to avoid having oneSmoke alarms are effective, but they are no substitute for fire preventionProviding fire safety education is an effective way to reduce the risk of fire deathsBe detailed; provide information about “how” as well as “why” to be safe
85 Providing Effective Education To provide effective education, you must…Take time to talk - simply handing someone a fist full of brochures is not effectiveGive specific examples of ways to be safe:NOT GOOD: “You should be careful so you don’t have a cooking fire.”GOOD: “Why don’t you get a kitchen timer that you can set when you put something on the stove, so that you don’t forget that you have something cooking?”
86 Using Educational Materials Brochures and printed handouts can help you explain important safety informationUse them to supplement, not replace, a discussion – go through them as you talk and explain the information in themPrinted materials are also good because residents can refer to them later
87 Tips for Doing Installations Take all the tools, supplies, educational materials and alarms that you may needSmall teams work very wellOne person provides fire safety education while one or more others install the alarm(s)Allow plenty of time to do the job properly
88 Tips for Doing Installations (cont.) Have a legible address and/or directions to the places where you will install alarmsPhone numbers are also very handyWear a uniform or other identificationNever talk about what you see in a homeDo any required paperwork as soon asyou finish doing the installation
89 The Smoke Alarm Installation and Smoke Alarm Campaign
90 New Brunswick | Firefighters begin door-to-door campaign to test smoke alarms, batteries Posted by Hal Newman on Mar 14, 2012 in Canada, New BrunswickFront, from left: acting Fire Marshal Norman Thibodeau; Fire Chief Murray Crouse, Upper Kingsclear Fire Department; Memramcook Fire Chief Raymond LeBlanc, president, New Brunswick Association of Fire Chiefs (NBAFC); Bill Adams, vice-president (Atlantic), Insurance Bureau of Canada; Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Robert Trevors; Grand Falls Fire Chief Charles Kavanaugh, first vice-president, NBAFC; and Fredericton Fire Chief Philip Toole. Back, from left: Saint Andrews Fire Chief Jeff Cross, president, New Brunswick Association of Fire Prevention Officers; and Oromocto Fire Chief Jody Price, past president, NBAFC.
91 Smoke Alarm Campaign Forms used to document smoke alarm installations Smoke Alarm Installation and Fire EducationForms used to document smoke alarm installationsReporting requirements
92 Smoke Alarm CampaignApplication Form – must be completed to participate in the program. Once the FMO receives the completed form, they will send you the smoke alarms and batteries promptly.Evaluation Form - Once you complete the campaign, the FMO asks you fill out this form and return it by or fax to your Regional Fire Marshal.
97 Smoke Alarm CampaignInstall smoke alarms in homes that do not have functional smoke alarmsProvide fire safety education to the residents of these homesProvide fire safety education to other people in project communities
98 Smoke Alarm CampaignCollect information about the percentage of homes with working smoke alarms before and after the project is conducted in a communityDetermine whether alarms installed by the project remain functional several months after they are installed
99 Installation Requirements Smoke Alarm CampaignInstallation RequirementsWhen installing smoke alarms as part of this project:Only those alarms needed should be used, but the home should meet the standards of NBC when the installation is completeThe residents should receive education in fire prevention, escape plans and alarm care
100 Installation Requirements Smoke Alarm CampaignInstallation RequirementsAsk resident if we can check their smoke detector. Explain to that this is not a fire inspection.If they don’t have a detector, give them one and Offer to install it if refused explain where they should install it.If the person is a Senior or Handicapped install the detector for them.
101 Installation Requirements Smoke Alarm CampaignInstallation RequirementsMake sure that all of the smoke detectors in the residence are working (use smoke spray)If not replace Battery (in one unit only, the detector outside of the sleeping area).Still not working replace the detector (Make sure that the new detector is placed outside of the sleeping area).
102 Installation Requirements Smoke Alarm CampaignInstallation RequirementsIf the detector looks old (7 years +) inform the resident that smoke detectors only have a life span of 7-10 years. It is the occupants responsibility to replace the detector(s) if it falls within this time period. DO NOT LEAVE A NEW DETECTOR In newer homes it is a requirement that there should be a detector on each level of the home. The detectors shall be hardwired (110v) and interconnected. If you test the one in the basement the one on the uppermost level should sound.
103 Installation Requirements Smoke Alarm CampaignInstallation RequirementsHardwired detectors have the same life span as battery detectors.Tell the resident that the detector requires some simple maintenance to work properly. At least once every 6 months they should be vacuumed to remove the dust and other debris that may block the smoke chamber. They should also replace the batteries at least twice a year.VACUUM YOUR SMOKE ALARMS
104 Installation Requirements Smoke Alarm CampaignInstallation RequirementsGive one smoke detector per household (Only if they don’t have one, or, the ONE they have does not work).Only replace one battery in a household. i.e. If they have 4 detectors only replace the battery in the detector outside of the sleeping area.
105 10 Rules 1. Protect yourself and your family. Install smoke alarms 2. Smoke alarms save lives. Most fatal fires occur at night when people are asleep. Often, victims never wake up. A working smoke alarm will detect smoke and sound an alarm to alert you, giving you precious time to escape.Residential Smoke Alarm Installation
106 10 Rules3. Buying the best alarm (for your situation). There are many types of smoke alarms, each with different features. Alarms can be electrically connected, battery powered or a combination of both. This combination - and a hush feature to reduce nuisance alarms - are highly recommended4. One smoke alarm is not enough. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and near sleeping areas. If you or your loved ones sleep with bedroom doors closed, install an alarm inside each bedroom.Residential Smoke Alarm Installation
107 10 Rules5. Where to install smoke alarms. Because smoke rises, you should place alarms on the ceiling. If you cannot do this, place them high up on a wall, according to manufacturer's instructions. There are certain locations to avoid such as near bathrooms, heating appliances, windows, or close to ceiling fans.6. Test your smoke alarm regularly. Every month, test your smoke alarms, using the alarm test button. Test your alarms regularly using smoke from a smouldering cotton string. Follow your owner's manual.Residential Smoke Alarm Installation
108 10 Rules7. Change your clock, change your battery. Install a new battery of the proper type at least once a year. If the low battery warning beeps, replace the battery immediately. We change our clocks each spring and fall so this a good time to change your smoke alarm batteries too.8. Gently vacuum alarm every six months. Dust can clog a smoke alarm, so carefully vacuum the inside of a battery powered unit using the soft bristle brush. If electrically connected, shut off the power and vacuum the outside vents only. Restore power and test unit when finished.Residential Smoke Alarm Installation
109 10 Rules9. Smoke alarms don't last forever. Smoke alarms do wear out, so if you think your alarms are more than 10 years old, replace them with new ones. Why not replace them with long-life smoke alarms that will eliminate the need for annual battery replacement and the potential hazard of dead batteries for up to 10 years.10. Plan your escape. Make sure that everyone knows the sound of the smoke alarm and what to do if a fire occurs. Regularly practice your home fire escape plan. Know two ways out of every room and have a pre-arranged meeting place outside. Once out, stay out and call the fire department from a neighbour's home.
110 Summary and Review Types of smoke alarm sensors and power supplies The difference between self-contained, linked and central station alarmsSmoke alarm testing and maintenanceHow to minimize nuisance alarms
111 Summary and Review (cont.) Where smoke alarms should – and should not – be installed in a homeNBC requirements for residential alarmsMethods for installing smoke alarmsHow and why to lock smoke alarm casesWhy fire safety education is important
112 Summary and Review (cont.) What the Smoke alarm project isWhat alarms and materials are used by the project
113 Summary and Review (cont.) Smoke Alarm are designed to be as maintenance-free as possible, but there are a few simple things you must do to keep it working properly:Test it at least once a month using test button and at least every year with a smoking candle or string.Gently vacuumWhen the battery becomes weak, the smoke alarm will “chirp” about once a minute replace the battery immediately to continue your protection.Never paint your smoke alarm.Replace a smoke alarm after 10 yearsResidential Smoke Alarm Installation