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When it comes to protecting your family as well as you home, you must consider all types of devices to purchase in order to keep them safe. One of the biggest devices that you should invest in is smoke and carbon Monoxide detectors. I know this forum is geared towards survival and prepper post preparadations, but the main TRUE focus of this forum is prevention for ANY type of scenario BEFORE and AFTER situations. Thus, my reasoning on posting articles on ways you can help yourself to prevent any type of need for a survival emergency.

There are tons of detectors on the market today and many with different features to choose from. I went into our local hardware store a few days ago and it took me an hour deciding what type, what brand, what features I wanted for my family. I wish I did some research before spending an hour staring at the devices.

• Battery only operated
• Battery and Electric operated
• Electric hard wire only operated
• Plug-in operated with battery backup
• Ionization
• Photoelectric
• Smoke only
• Flame only
• Carbon Monoxide only
• Smoke and Flame
• Smoke, Flame, Carbon Monoxide
• Digital readouts
• Escape Lights
• Interconnected devices or "Smart Interconnect" (one sounding will sound the rest in the house)
• Wireless (You can leave a transceiver at a neighbors house if on vacation)
• Automatic testing (Great for older folks that have trouble reaching the alarm to test)
• Lithium power cells (Longer battery life)

How your smoke detector should be installed?

You should install your detector according to the manufacture. Usually this is high on a ceiling, away from vents that can "push" the smoke away from it, plugged into a wall, away from any vents, away from the kitchen so the cooking doesn't alarm the unit, or away from steam from the shower. Also take note that in garages or attics that are not heated, the moister can damage the unit over time. For older individuals, good options are the ones that you can plug into the way for testing and changing the backup batteries. If you close your bedroom door, then make sure there is a detector on the outside of your room so that if a fire starts in a different room, it will alarm in the hall and you can hear it while inside your bedroom, but then again lets say your a smoker and forget to put the cigarette out and it catches something in your room on fire with your door closed to the alarm, then in this case you would need one for your room. Best practice is to get some really good ones (Multi function) to put in the main areas and then some cheap ones that only have one or two features to put in different, less likely and traveled areas. As always read and go by the manufactureinstructions. For carbon monoxide detectors, make sure to put these in the range of devices that can cause CO buildup (Garage, Furnace, Stove, Attic Note: see reference to damaging electronics in these areas due to moister).

How often do you change your smoke detector out?

You should change your carbon monoxide and smoke detector out whenever you are seeing issues with testing (fresh battery, but not alarming), alarming but no fire, new fire codes implemented and your unit is obsolete, or if there was a small fire under control but the alarm didn't go off. Usually 10 years is the recommended life span of a detector, but to be on the safe side, opt for 5 years. They are inexpensive and if you think they are expensive, then think of the damage it can cause your home or family and the costs and emotional tears that would be. Also if they are dirty or if spray painting has been done around the detector which might clog the cells on the unit. Last but not least, change it out even though the unit appears fine, but the life span has past. As always, go by the manufacture directions and recommendations on the life span of the detector.

How often to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detector?

I try to test mine at least once a month. Each year I get a new calendar and I go through and mark important dates and on the first of the month I have that day circled with "test smoke alarms". I also program my blackberry at the beginning of the month for the same task. Older folks can get the brands with the automatic feature (Usually flashes or beeps once a week), the brand that alarms with a bright flashlight shined onto it, or the wireless ones with remotes so they don't have to climb ladders, which could risk falling. If these are too expensive then arrange for your older members of the family that a friend, provider, or neighbor comes by to do this task for them. Make sure to put this in any agreement of "terms of care" for any health provider to check on. I would also have them mark a running log of the event and the day that it was tested. Many times health providers do not do what they are supposed to do, thus I would make sure there are other alarms in the house working properly, but setup a dummy one that they are supposed to check with a dead battery and see if they mark that its working properly. Also make sure any cleaning company or provider vacuums out any cob webs or insects in the detectors. Although aesthetically bad, you could also put the manual nailed to the detector for quick reference. Never "light a match" or use a open flame/smoke near the detector to test. As always, follow the manufacture manual.

I hope this article has helped you to some extent, if anything if you learned one thing new then I have done my part. As always, use common sense, read manuals to devices and perform regular maintenance checks.
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