Insurance 101

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  • Smoke Alarms Save Lives

    • A working smoke alarm is constantly on alert, scanning the air for fire and smoke, and significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.
    • According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2007-2011, three of every five home fire deaths occurred in homes with no smoke alarm or no working smoke alarm.

    What type of alarm is best?

    • There are two types of smoke alarms – ionization and photoelectric. An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires.
    • The United States Fire Administration (USFA) recommends that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with both types of alarms, or with dual sensor alarms which contain both types of smoke sensors.
    • There are also alarms made to meet the needs of people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to assist in alerting those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.

    What is the cost? 

    • Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms cost between $15 and $60, depending on the features. 
    • Dual sensor smoke alarms cost between $20 and $40, depending on the features. 
    • If the smoke alarm is powered by 9-volt battery, the battery should be replaced at least once a year.

    Where should the alarms be installed? 

    • Have at least one alarm on each floor, including basements and attics, and within 15 feet of bedrooms. 
    • Place smoke alarms inside of bedrooms if family members usually sleep with the door closed. 
    • A wall-mounted alarm should be located six to 12 inches below the ceiling. 
    • Ceiling-mounted alarms should be more than six inches away from any wall. 
    • On sloped and vaulted ceilings, locate the alarm at the highest point. 
    • In open stairways, alarms should be placed near the top of the staircase. 
    • In closed stairways, like basement steps, place the alarm at the bottom of the staircase. 
    • Do not install alarms in drafty areas, such as near windows, ceiling fans, or forced-air registers.

    Smoke alarm maintenance
    Smoke alarms must be maintained! A smoke alarm with a dead or missing battery is the same as having no smoke alarm at all.

    Smoke alarm powered by a 9-volt battery

    • Test the alarm monthly. 
    • Replace the batteries at least once per year. 
    • The entire smoke alarm unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.

    Smoke alarm powered by a 10-year lithium (or “long life”) battery

    • Test the alarm monthly. 
    • Since you cannot (and should not) replace the lithium battery, the entire smoke alarm unit should be replaced according to manufacturer’s instructions.

    Smoke alarm that is hardwired into the home’s electrical system

    • Test the alarm monthly. 
    • The backup battery should be replaced at least once per year. 
    • The entire smoke alarm unit should be replaced every 8-10 years. 

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