Smoke Detectors: Install a Photoelectric Smoke Alarm
Photoelectric type detectors are required as the primary alarm for each required location when replacing or adding smoke detectors in all residential dwellings in Shaker Heights. The photoelectric smoke alarm is less prone to nuisance false alarms from cooking and steam. It also responds faster to smoldering type fires that cause the most injuries and deaths in residences.
- Uses a 9 volt battery
- Power may last up to 10 years with a long-life battery
- Hardwired to the home 110 volt electrical service (with battery back-up)
- Battery detectors are readily available and can be installed by the homeowner or tenant. Hardwired detectors must be installed by a qualified electrician.
- There are three types of sensor technology used in smoke detectors: photoelectric, ionization and a combination or dual-sensor that incorporates both sensors in one detector. Photoelectric detectors are required in Shaker Heights.
- Smoke detectors should bear the label of an approved testing agency (UL or FM).
- Smoke detectors must be placed on every level of the home including the basement, outside every sleeping area. We also recommend that a smoke detector be placed in every bedroom. If you wish, you may use either of the other two types of detectors in conjunction with the photoelectric detector. Detectors should be mounted on the ceiling or high on the wall (smoke rises). Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Additional smoke alarms can be added to increase your protection. There are additional requirements for multi-family dwellings.
Testing and Maintenance
- Test each detector monthly by pushing the button.
- Replace 9 volt batteries in detectors twice a year. (Remember: change your clocks, change your batteries.)
- If the alarm “chirps,” warning that the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
- Replace long-life battery detector at the end of its recommended life, 10 years maximum or sooner if it is not functioning properly.
- Replace all detectors, including hard wired ones, when they are 10 years old or sooner if they are not functioning properly.
- Vacuum out dust or cobwebs that have accumulated in smoke detectors at least once per year.
- Consider installing interconnected detectors (wired or wireless). When one detector sounds, every detector throughout the house sounds.
- In the event of a false alarm, never remove the battery or disconnect the power source. Simply fan the smoke or steam away from the detector until the alarm stops.
- If a contractor or supplier is installing your detector, make sure you are provided with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Smoke detectors and batteries are provided free to residents who cannot afford them, and the fire department installs smoke detectors for residents who require assistance. The department also provides guidance on the proper placement of detectors in your home.
Smoke detectors are one component of a complete home escape plan. Have a plan and practice it.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas produced by fuel-burning appliances. Each year thousands of people become ill due to CO poisoning caused by improperly maintained appliances. CO poisoning may cause irreversible damage to one’s health and requires immediate medical attention.
- To protect your family from CO poisoning, it is recommended that you install at least one detector near the sleeping areas in your home. If your CO detector goes off and you feel ill, you should immediately leave your home and seek emergency help. If you or other family members don’t feel ill, you should open windows and doors to ventilate the home, shut off all fuel-burning appliances and call the Fire Department to investigate the cause of the alarm. Never ignore the alarm!
- Maintenance of a CO detector should be according to manufacturer’s instructions, and should include monthly testing.
- Additional Protection
The homeowner or apartment tenant must determine the degree of fire protection he or she desires, balanced against the cost of that protection. Presently, the best available is a system installed and monitored by a reliable company operating under a permit issued by the City of Shaker Heights. This type of system will detect a fire and alert the occupants of the house and at the same time notify the Shaker Heights Fire Department or an alarm office maintained by the installing company, which, in turn, will call the Fire Department.
- The Fire Department offers free home safety inspections by appointment throughout the year. Using a “Home Fire Safety Checklist,” two firefighters inspect dwellings from top to bottom. Among the hazards they look for are faulty or inadequate electrical wiring, improper storage of paints, thinners and other combustible liquids, and unsafe heating and cooking areas.
- The Home Inspection Program, which focuses on preventive measures, provides residents with expertise on how to make their homes fire-safe. Firefighters can also provide information about smoke detectors and home escape plans, as well as hazards in homes and garages.
- To make an appointment for a home inspection, call the Fire Prevention Bureau, 216-491-1215, 8:30 AM to 5 PM weekdays.
- Fire is the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Residential occupancies account for most fire fatalities, and most deaths occur at night during the sleeping hours. Most fire casualties are the victims of smoke and gas inhalation, rather than burns.
- To provide reasonable fire safety for persons in family living units, the Shaker Heights Fire Department recommends a three-point program:
- Minimize fire hazards
- Provide a fire warning system (smoke detectors)
- Have – and practice – a home fire escape plan
Visit the online home of Shaker Life magazine.