Name Tutor Course Date Smoke alarms Introduction Two years ago, an elderly blind woman in my hometown lost all of her belongings in a fire that destroyed her house one Friday night. Although she managed to escape, the injuries she sustained have left her hospitalized till this day…
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There is the need to look for ways of preventing and reducing the damages and deaths caused by fires in our homes. A smoke alarm is a device that can help in this fight by detecting the presence of smoke. The debate has however been on whether or not homeowners should install these devices. Homeowners should be required to install smoke alarms because they can save lives, help in protecting property, and the purchase of smoke alarms and reducing fires helps boost the economy. Discussion There a number of arguments against the use of smoke alarms in homes. First, it has been argued that many of the fire detectors in the market today are ineffective and are near useless. In an article written by Richard Patton (2010), the author argues that most of the deaths caused by fires are due to the inability of existing smoke alarms to relay alarms. For instance, he states that the ionization fire detector that has been marketed for more than forty years is defective and unreliable (Patton, 6). He argues that most of the smoke alarms in the market today endanger the lives of the users, and therefore should not be promoted for use in homes. He backs this claim by quoting a report by Gordon Vickery prepared in 1980 in which 50 million detectors were placed in buildings across America in a period of two years yet the fire loss and death rate went up in the same period (Patton, 6). However, Patton’s claim is not sufficiently convincing. Although some of the alarms in the market today might be ineffective, the solution lies in designing better alarms that have a better response. Furthermore, the study he is quoting to support this claim was conducted more than 30 years ago and it is likely that improvements have been made on these alarms. A related argument against the use of these alarms has been on the health risks they pose. In an article titled ‘the Potential Hazard of Ionizing Radiation in Smoke Detectors’ (2005) by Rosalie Bertell, the author states that ionizing smoke detectors have a radioactive component- Americium 241. This component has a half life of 458 years. It may be inhaled by the users as a result of the deterioration of the packaging of the detector when it is discarded in landfills. Therefore, having these detectors in our homes is likely to increase this threat, and the population may be exposed to diseases such as cancer and other genetic disorders. According to this article, this compound is absorbed in the body easily through the intestines or lungs. This is a major danger to the future generations, and therefore should not be used in our homes. The problem with this argument is that the author fails to explore the different safe options that can be used in disposing these detectors. Although they may have some form of radiation, proper disposals mechanisms can help eliminate this threat. In addition, the author does not clearly state the actual threat posed by these detectors. The arguments are not backed up with figures to illustrate this threat. The threat may not be significant after all. The use of these detectors cannot be trashed on the basis of the above claims since the benefits outweigh the costs by far. First, the purchase of smoke alarms and the reducing of fires is important to the growth of the economy. In a study conducted by Haddix et al (2001), the authors attempted to estimate the cost effectiveness of a smoke alarm giveaway program conducted in Oklahoma City. The results of the study showed that using these
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