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Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

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1 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation
NBAFPO Spring Seminar St. Andrews, NB Milt Cawley Riverview Fire and Rescue

2 Albert County Heat Detector
Save money on batteries! if it starts a-poppin, grab the kids and RUN!

3 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

4 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

5 Do I Need a Smoke Alarm? Working Smoke Alarms can cut the chance of dying in a home fire nearly in half They 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 alarms Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

6 We Will Cover: What smoke alarms are Types of smoke alarm sensors
Installation of Smoke Alarms Maintenance of smoke alarms and detectors What nuisance alarms are and some steps that can be taken to avoid them Some problems that affect smoke alarms

7 Smoke Alarms Are… Electronic devices designed to detect the presence of a fire and sound an alarm They generally consist of: One or more sensors A triggering circuit An alarm amplifier and horn A power supply

8 Purpose of Smoke Alarms
Detect presence of combustion products Provide 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 structure Secondary purpose is to initiate an early response by Fire Department

9 Smoke Detectors Are Used In…
Industrial Facilities Storage and Shipping Facilities Office Buildings Retail Stores

10 Smoke Alarms Are Used In…
Residential Facilities and Private Homes In this seminar we will focus primarily on residential smoke alarms

11 Smoke Alarm Vs Smoke Detector
Misconceptions The 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.

12 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

13 Self-Contained Alarms
Most commonly found in single-family dwellings and small apartment buildings Seldom linked to fire suppression or external notification systems Linked independent alarms are becoming more common in new construction

14 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

15 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

16 Types of Smoke Alarm Sensors
There are two primary types of smoke alarm sensors: Ionization sensors Photoelectric sensors Some alarms also include other types of safety sensors, such as heat sensors, or carbon monoxide sensors

17 Ionization Sensors Best at detecting fast, flaming fires like grease fires Detect combustion particles of .01 to 3 microns (an average human hair is about 90 microns) Most sensitive to dark or black smoke Sensitive 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 chamber The ionized air conducts an electrical current The detector circuit senses this current; if it is present, the alarm does not sound Smoke particles interfere with the current flow; when the current is reduced, the alarm sounds

19 Ionization Sensor Illustration

20 Photoelectric Sensors
Best at detecting slow, smoldering fires like furniture ignited by a cigarette Detect combustion particles of .3 to 10 microns Most sensitive to light gray smoke Not very sensitive to steam, so they are better for use near kitchens or bathrooms Higher power requirements than ionization

21 How Photoelectric Sensors Work
An LED creates a beam of infrared light in the detector chamber The detector circuit senses this light; if it is present, the alarm does not sound Smoke particles scatter the light, and reduce the amount that reaches the detector; when the amount of light is reduced, the alarm sounds

22 Photoelectric Sensor Illustration

23 Smoke Alarm Power Sources
AC power (“hard wired”) – linked to normal AC wiring system Most new detectors have a battery backup in case AC power fails Batteries 9 volt carbon zinc (“general purpose”) 9 volt alkaline 9 volt lithium (“ten year battery”)

24 AC Power Most 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) Power Fairly dependable if batteries are checked and replaced consistently Inexpensive and easy to install, even in older buildings Often 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 Supply Cleaning of Sensor and Air Passages Regular Testing Replacement 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 manufacturer For battery powered alarms: Test alarm monthly (or as directed by manufacturer) Replace batteries: Every six months for general purpose or alkaline batteries When alarm signals low battery or fails test for lithium batteries

29 Cleaning Smoke Alarms For 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 dirt A dirty detector chamber will: Reduce alarm sensitivity Increase the chance of a nuisance alarm Clean the detector by vacuuming the exterior of the alarm with a vacuum nozzle If this isn’t an option, dust the outside of the alarm housing

30 Smoke Alarm Testing Alarms should be tested monthly, or more often if the manufacturer or codes require Monthly by pushing test button At least annually (more often recommended) by using spray or the smoke from a candle One 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 Testing Use 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 Testing Do NOT use a flame for testing a Smoke Alarm

34 Smoke Alarm Testing Always 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 years After that point, electronic failure becomes likely If the alarm is self-contained, the entire alarm should be replaced



38 Nuisance Alarms Nuisance alarms occur when the alarm sounds without a fire being present Often called “false alarms,” but in most cases they’re not – the alarm does detect something Usually caused by exposing the alarm to smoke, combustion products or steam From tobacco smokers From wood-burning stoves or fireplaces From 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 steam Clean the alarm regularly Maintain 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 Power Usually due to failure to test alarm and replace battery as needed Electronic failure Rare, but it happens – testing is important! Deliberately disabled alarms Usually due to nuisance alarms, but may also be done to get alarm battery

41 Ways to Reduce Problems
Test alarms regularly Will identify lack of power or electronic failure Replace batteries as needed Place alarms properly to avoid nuisance alarms Seal alarms to protect battery

42 Other Potential Improvements
Building codes requiring hard-wired (AC) alarms with battery backup Use of long life lithium batteries (which last up to ten years) instead of general purpose or alkaline batteries

43 Installing Smoke Alarms
Residential Smoke Alarm Installation Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

44 Provisions of NBC At least one functional smoke alarm on every occupied level of the home This includes basements It 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 area This 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 Code Smoke 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 resounding Sound patterns of smoke shall be T3

47 What Does T3 Mean T3 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 steam This 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 regularly Monthly, or more often if the manufacturer recommends it; many manufacturers recommend weekly tests All residential smoke alarms should be replaced when they are ten years old Where 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 occupancies we 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 selection Locations where you should – and should not – install residential smoke alarms

52 The importance of the alarm instructions
Methods for mounting the alarm The importance of the alarm instructions The importance of fire safety education Tips for doing an effective smoke alarm installation and fire safety education visit

53 Alarm Selection If you want to use an alarm with a long life lithium battery, you will have to use an alarm with an ionization sensor Photoelectric 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 site Photoelectric alarms work best in or near kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and other areas where steam may be present Both sensor types work well in other areas Use hardwired (AC powered) linked alarms in new construction

55 Alarm Location Installing smoke alarms in proper locations is important Alarms that are installed in the wrong location may: Not provide adequate warning of fire or smoke Fail 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 refers Install at least one alarm outside each separate bedroom area You 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 Areas Smoke Alarm

58 Alarm Location (cont.) Do not install smoke alarms…
In or near kitchens, bathrooms or laundry rooms, if the alarm has an ionization sensor In attics, cellars or other areas that become very hot, cold or dusty On 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 hallway In the “dead air zone” that is found within four inches of the edge of any ceiling, or the top edge of any wall In 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 wall DEAD AIR ZONE Acceptable mounting locations for smoke alarms

61 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

62 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

63 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

64 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

65 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

66 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

67 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

68 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

69 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

70 Preferred Placement of Alarms
Whenever possible, install smoke alarms on ceilings Near the center of the room is usually best If the room has an arched, vaulted or gabled ceiling, put the alarm at or near the highest point of the ceiling Do 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 wall Install alarms in the narrow area at least four inches, but not more than twelve inches, below the ceiling Remember: do not install a smoke alarm on an un-insulated exterior wall Follow Manufactures' Instructions

72 Tips For Placing Alarms
Try to place the alarm where a resident can reach it for testing and cleaning This may not always be practical in rooms with high ceilings Always test the alarm before you attach it to the ceiling or the wall It is much easier to replace a defective alarm or battery before the alarm is installed

73 Mounting Smoke Alarms There are two common methods of mounting smoke alarms to ceilings or walls Using screws (generally supplied with the alarm) Using industrial grade double-sided tape

74 Alarm Mounting - Screws
This is the preferred method of mounting the alarm It is recommended by the manufacturer Screws will not lose strength over time Screws are usually included in the smoke alarm package Masonry anchors are also usually included

75 Alarm Mounting – Screws (cont.)
Mounting process: Place the alarm base or mounting plate on the ceiling or wall Mark screw locations and remove the base or mounting plate Drill pilot holes or masonry anchor holes Insert masonry anchors (if needed) Place alarm base or mounting plate Insert 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 batteries It 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 instructions These instructions often include sections in different languages You should read and understand the instructions before installing an alarm You 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 alarm In order for smoke alarms to be effective, residents must also be educated They must learn: How to maintain and test the alarm What to do if the alarm sounds How to prevent fires

79 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

80 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

81 Education – Alarm Maintenance
Smoke alarms require testing and care The instructions packed with most smoke alarms are long and complex – many people will not read or understand them If you install a smoke alarm for someone, you should educate them about how to test and maintain the alarm Simplify the information when needed

 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 sounds Every home should have a fire escape plan – and practice it at least yearly Explain the need for a fire escape plan and how to develop one Provide details and examples When 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 one Smoke alarms are effective, but they are no substitute for fire prevention Providing fire safety education is an effective way to reduce the risk of fire deaths Be 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 effective Give 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 information Use them to supplement, not replace, a discussion – go through them as you talk and explain the information in them Printed 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 need Small teams work very well One 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 alarms Phone numbers are also very handy Wear a uniform or other identification Never talk about what you see in a home Do any required paperwork as soon as you 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 Brunswick Front, 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 Education Forms used to document smoke alarm installations Reporting requirements

92 Smoke Alarm Campaign Application 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.

93 Riverview Fire & Rescue Milt Cawley
Deputy 5000 200 50 X Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

94 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

95 Riverview Fire & Rescue Milt Cawley
Deputy 150 50 50 X X Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

96 Smoke Alarm Campaign

97 Smoke Alarm Campaign Install smoke alarms in homes that do not have functional smoke alarms Provide fire safety education to the residents of these homes Provide fire safety education to other people in project communities

98 Smoke Alarm Campaign Collect information about the percentage of homes with working smoke alarms before and after the project is conducted in a community Determine whether alarms installed by the project remain functional several months after they are installed

99 Installation Requirements
Smoke Alarm Campaign Installation Requirements When 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 complete The residents should receive education in fire prevention, escape plans and alarm care

100 Installation Requirements
Smoke Alarm Campaign Installation Requirements Ask 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 Campaign Installation Requirements Make 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 Campaign Installation Requirements If 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 Campaign Installation Requirements Hardwired 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 Campaign Installation Requirements Give 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 Rules 3. 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 recommended 4. 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 Rules 5. 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 Rules 7. 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 Rules 9. 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 alarms Smoke alarm testing and maintenance How to minimize nuisance alarms

111 Summary and Review (cont.)
Where smoke alarms should – and should not – be installed in a home NBC requirements for residential alarms Methods for installing smoke alarms How and why to lock smoke alarm cases Why fire safety education is important

112 Summary and Review (cont.)
What the Smoke alarm project is What 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 vacuum When 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 years Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

114 Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

115 No Excuses Residential Smoke Alarm Installation

116 A tour of a cemetery shows the graves of people who died because they didn't have smoke alarms No ...Excuses

117 Questions or Comments?



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