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Importance of Smoke Alarms in Homes - Research Paper Example

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Leslie Taylor Instructor: Hanak English 1301.012 15 December 2011 Importance of Smoke Alarms in Homes In today’s households, smoke alarms are considered to be one of the most essential items required to safeguard the inhabitants of a home against smoke and fire…
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Importance of Smoke Alarms in Homes
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Download file to see previous pages This paper will outline the significance of installing smoke alarms in homes as a means to secure them from risks of potential fires. A fire disaster is a dreaded situation, which can result from gas leaks, short-circuits or overheated appliances. Smoke alarms are very helpful in considerably reducing the chances of fire hazards in homes. However, there are many households that have neglected to install smoke alarms, despite their life-saving potential and low cost, or have been careless in maintaining the installed detectors. Like any other battery-operated device, smoke alarms also require regular maintenance to ensure that they are in good operating condition and have sufficient batteries at the time of a hazardous situation (UL 2011). Effective and reliable smoke alarms are easily available at reasonably low prices; whereas more advanced models can be linked to a security system that automatically notifies the fire department. According to a recent study by the US Fire Administration (USFA), the number of household fires has increased on a year-on-year basis by almost 2%, resulting in an overall loss of over 2,500 lives and 6.5 trillion dollars (USFA 2011). Another research, carried out by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has estimated that 96% of all households have a smoke alarm present, but only 70% of these are in working condition. However, from the 400,000 household fires that have been approximately reported, 72% of the deaths were caused by either an unmaintained or missing smoke alarm (NFPA 2011). Most of these fires also cause injuries, which may result in disfigurement and other mental effects (Miller et al. 1982). A working smoke alarm doubles the chances of survival from a fire (NFPA 2011). The majority of fire hazards take place at night, especially when people are asleep and may not detect the spreading smoke or fire. Smoke alarms keep that risk down by alerting everyone in the household when smoke is detected. It helps the occupants find a safe passage out of their homes, before they become trapped in the fire. Most of the deaths that take place are usually due to suffocation from smoke or other gaseous substances, which are invisible to the human eye and can spread rapidly around the house. Hence, without smoke alarms, smoke is likely to go unnoticed, especially during the night, posing a great threat to the occupants of the house (DOS 2007). However, with a functioning smoke detector, the residents can easily discover and sense if there is smoke spreading in the house and save themselves and their loved ones from possible dangers. Smoke alarms do not prevent fires, but because they provide warnings of small fires, or smokes, that can be easily extinguished, they reduce the number of fires that become serious enough to cause injuries or burns, leading to fatalities. In a recent tragic incident, a family was using a space heater to heat their house. Their house did not have a smoke alarm installed. Unfortunately, the heater malfunctioned, causing a small local fire, which went unnoticed due to the absence of a smoke alarm. The fire spread rapidly, and in a couple of minutes, the fire had engulfed the house completely, trapping the whole family inside it. Sadly, by the time the fire department arrived at the scene, the family members were critically injured. They were immediately shifted to a hospital, where three children succumbed to their injuries and passed away. The parents are still recovering ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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