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Frequently Asked Questions about Fire Safety


Q: MY SMOKE ALARM GOES OFF A LOT. WHAT IS WRONG WITH IT?

First clean the unit with a vacuum cleaner. Dust particles can and often do set off false alarms.

Second the unit may need to be relocated. It could be too close to the kitchen, bathroom, heat register or it could be defective and need to be replaced. Consult the installation instructions.

Third smoke detectors can become more sensitive with age. They do have a useful service life. In no case should a smoke detector be used for more than 10 years.

Q: MY SMOKE ALARM BEEPS. WHAT IS WRONG WITH IT?

The problem is usually a weak or improper battery. Replace with a fresh battery as recommended by the manufacturer.

Q: WHERE SHOULD I INSTALL THE SMOKE ALARM?  Smoke detectors are required on every story of the dwelling unit including the basement. They are to be installed in approved locations and hardwired, interconnected in conformance with the electrical code. Location of detectors should be:

1. In the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms, not more than ten (10) feet away from the bedroom exit doors.
2. Detectors are also required within all bedrooms;
3. In each story within the dwelling unit, including basement. Note: (One in bi-level without intervening door can cover both floors as long as it is less than one full story).
4. Watch dead air spaces, i.e., 4” x 4” ceiling/wall corners;
5. Sidewall mounting allowed advise 9’ dead center from ceiling;
6. Kitchens and bathrooms cause nuisance alarms.

Manufacturer’s specs call for a five (5) foot clearance or use of a photoelectric unit is warranted. (If one is photo, then all units are unless listed with U.L. as compatible). Nuisance Alarm Control: Some smoke detectors – manufacturers provide a model with a “hush” feature, which momentarily switches to a reduced sensitivity condition. This reduction in sensitivity allows annoying and unwanted alarms to be silenced for approximately fifteen (15) minutes. It is required that a copy of manufacturer’s specs (user’s manual) for installation of smoke detectors to be left at construction site. Complete information on replacement maintenance and operation is explained within this manual.

Q: WHAT TYPE AND SIZE OF FIRE EXTINGUISHER SHOULD I HAVE?

The recommended extinguisher for home use is a “Dry Chemical” type, generally type 2A-10BC.

Q: WHERE SHOULD I STORE MY FIRE EXTINGUISHER?

Store your extinguisher away from the stove, near the entrance to the kitchen. Mount the extinguisher on the bracket that is supplied with the extinguisher. In your workshop, mount the extinguisher away from power tools, near the exit. CAUTION: Never put yourself or anyone else in jeopardy by trying to extinguish a fire which may be too large. Sound an alarm to other occupants, leave the building closing all doors behind you and call the Fire Department (9-1-1). Go to your designated meeting place and wait for firefighters to arrive.

Q: HOW DO I USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER?

If you are called on to use your extinguisher to fight a fire, just think of the words,

PASS:

PULL on safety pin at the top of the extinguisher.

AIM the nozzle, horn or hose at the base of the flame (6 to 8 feet away).

SQUEEZE or press the handle.

SWEEP from side to side at the base of the fire until it goes out.

Always follow manufacturers instructions as listed on the unit.

NEVER GO BACK INTO A BURNING BUILDING!