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"Home Safety Guidelines"

A good home security system includes more than just protection against human invasion. Fire, water, and gases are among the imminent dangers that affect the safety of families and homes.

Every year fire, carbon monoxide, water, and other natural causes jeopardize domestic safety. What should you do to prepare for these dangers? Do you realize that a little preparation can quickly reduce the catastrophe of the loss of life or property? Nothing is more important to you than the happiness of yourself and your loved ones. To guarantee this happiness, home safety is one the most important considerations for a homeowner.

Fire Safety

One of the greatest dangers that destroy home safety is fire. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recorded 1.5 million fires in the United States alone in 2004. These recorded fires killed almost 4,000 people and injured close to 20,000 people. According to NFPA, fires in the same year cost over $9 billion in property damage. Fires are one of the leading causes of death and property destruction. Preparing for the worst by installing smoke detectors, heat detectors, and fire ladders can dramatically reduce these numbers.

Installing smoke detectors are key to alerting those in your home of a fire. Smoke causes the majority of fire related deaths. Heavy smoke from a fire, no matter how small, contains carbon monoxide and many other poisonous gases. Within a few minutes of breathing this smoke, a person may easily loose consciousness and die. Because of the danger of smoke related deaths, it is important to install a smoke detector in every room.

Smoke Detectors

There are two kinds of smoke detectors, ionization detectors and photoelectric detectors. Ionization detectors are the most common because they are the most affordable.

Ionization detectors maintain a small internal electrical current. When smoke enters the chamber, it disturbs the electrons (the current) causing the alarm to go off. The current is so weak that a small amount of smoke will easily activate the alarm.

Photoelectric detectors use light to sound the alarm. Inside the chamber, a light source emits light or very fine lasers. When smoke enters the chamber, smoke particles reflect the light or lasers into the photo-detector. This causes the alarm to sound.

Photoelectric detectors are less susceptible to false alarms because they require heavier smoke to activate the system. For rooms in which people will smoke, cook, or light a candle, furnace or fireplace, such as kitchens, basements and living rooms, a photoelectric detector will work better than an ionization detector. For rooms such as bedrooms, an ionization detector will work best because it requires very little smoke to activate.

Heat Detectors

Thermal or heat detectors are another valuable way of alerting those in your home of the danger of fire. Heat detectors do not replace smoke detectors, nor do smoke detectors replace heat detectors. Heat detectors are equipped with sensors to perform two tasks.

Detects a sudden change in temperature. Detects rise in temperature above a fixed degree. Most heat detectors are set to sound when the temperature rises 15° F (8° C) per minute. They also signal when the room's temperature rises above 135° F (57° C) or 200° F (94° C). These two tasks provide an early warning system for most fires since a fire will rapidly increase to over 900° F.

Instead of filling your ceiling with a variety of heat and smoke detectors, you can purchase at very affordable price a single unit that merges the smoke and thermal detector. This detector combines the technology of a photoelectric smoke detector and a heat detector. While it does not detect a rapid increase in temperature, a smoke/thermal detector will detect temperatures rising above 135° F.

A monitored security system will also assist in fire alert. By attaching your smoke or heat detector to your home security system, you may rest secure that help is on the way if the alarms were to go off. When the alarms sound in the house, the alarms will also alert the monitoring service. The service will see that it is a heat or smoke detector going off and will alert the fire department of the emergency.

When exploring your fire safety possibilities, it is good to consider placing fire ladders about the upper levels of your house. While you have your escape routes carefully planned, a fire ladder will save lives in the event that a rapid fire cuts off the upper level from the bottom level. Fire ladders should be stored about the upper levels of your house close to windows for quick and easy activation.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning

The danger of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is more imminent than many people realize. Gas furnaces, automobiles, gas water heaters, kerosene heaters, and propane stoves are all sources of carbon monoxide. Basically anything burning organic compound creates carbon monoxide.

A little leak of carbon monoxide can cause a lot of damage to a person. Carbon monoxide is sightless and tasteless and odorless. Without a sensor, it is almost impossible to know if there is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. But the affects of poisoning can be deadly. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause nausea, dizziness, unconsciousness, and possibly death if it is severe enough. Even minor CO poisoning can become the cause of future heart or brain damage or other organic problems. Because of limited circulation in homes, carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious threat to a home environment, especially since so many utilities burn oxygen and release carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide detectors can be linked to a monitored security system. You can either program the system to notify you or the monitoring service. However, it would not be a bad idea if it were to notify both. It can be a means of saving lives if you are away from your cell phone or do not hear the system's alarm. In either case, the system would notify the monitoring service who could then contact a local fire department.

Water Alert / Flood Alert

Water is a source of concern to every homeowner. There is always a threat of flooding and leaking water. In order to react to this threat and prevent a lot of damage, a homeowner needs to be alerted immediately. As a homeowner, you need to consider how to protect your home against water damage. Leaking pipes or hoses, overflowing sinks and toilets, and clogged drains can quickly cause significant damage to your house in a small amount of time. You want to be able to stop the water as soon as possible to prevent a great amount of damage.

Being alerted to the presence of unwanted water in your house is made easy with a water alert sensor. The system is small and inconspicuous. Because of its size and ability, it can sit in a bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, etc. without being noticed by guests and visitors.

Water alert sensors have the ability to work with or independent of your home security system. Using systems like the Ademco Water Sensor, you only have to attach the sensor to your security system to be alerted of the water problems. If the system is monitored, you can choose between having the system alert the monitoring service, which will contact you, or alert you directly on your phone. You can also choose a stand-alone water sensor. This is very affordable and has an alarm attached to it that will sound when water activates the alarm. 

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