Lifesaver in an emergency: is your smoke alarm still beeping?

Smoke alarms can save lives.

Lifesaver in an emergency: is your smoke alarm still beeping?

Smoke alarms can save lives. Of course only if they work. When was the last time you put the little device on the ceiling to the test?

A fire can be a matter of seconds that make the difference between life and death. Smoke detectors in bedrooms, children's rooms and corridors are therefore now required by law. They perceive smoke particles in the room air much earlier than we do.

Important: These sensitive devices must be checked regularly for their function. To remind you, there is Smoke Alarm Day - this year it is Friday 13th May.

The Fire Smoke Prevention Forum generally recommends pressing the test button on the smoke detector once a year, plus/minus three months. If the signal tone does not sound, the battery should be replaced first.

If the smoke detector still does not work, the device needs to be replaced. Incidentally, the experts advise replacing all smoke detectors with new ones after ten years, possibly earlier in smoking households.

Many smoke alarms will set themselves off when their power is low. This can be a light signal or a warning tone. This is clearly distinguishable from an alarm tone, which is usually more moderate than the actual fire alarm. But depending on the manufacturer, the tones may sound different. The forum has put together a few examples online for you to listen to and compare.

In addition, all openings of the device should be checked and cleaned at the same time. Because if there is dust on the optical sensors of the detector, they can no longer detect smoke.

However, the Fire Smoke Prevention Forum recommends not vacuuming the dust. Because the vacuum cleaner blows through the smoke detector with such a strong air flow that small parts of the electrical system inside can come loose.

Although the air suction is lower when a person blows into the device, this could also make the situation worse: dirt in the device could then be driven inside and occupy the sensors. It is therefore better to remove the dirt with a slightly damp cloth or a feather duster.


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