Interconnected smoke and fire alarms can save lives in the event of a house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), most Americans feel they are more at risk of being a victim of a tornado than of a house fire, but actually the opposite is true.
Fires are more common than any other disaster that strikes a family at home, and can become deadly in minutes. On average, you have less than three minutes from the time you hear a smoke alarm to escape a fire. The sooner you hear an alarm, the sooner you can get out safely.
Smoke alarms that are linked together so that when one goes off, they all go off, are called interconnected smoke alarm systems. These alarms provide more warnings in more places, giving your family more time to escape a house fire.
Houses built after 1993 are required by building codes to have interconnected alarms that are wired into their electrical system. That leaves nearly 100 million American homes that either do not have interconnected smoke alarms or only have limited protection.
Consider these findings:
- Almost half of all home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., when people are asleep. (NFPA)
- Surveys show that only 8% of people whose smoke alarms went off responded as recommended, which is to assume a fire is in progress and leave the house immediately. (NFPA)
- Only 54% of families with children discuss how to escape if a fire strikes. (HSC)
- On average, people believe it will take seven and a half minutes for a fire in the living room to create life-threatening environment in the bedroom. (NFPA)
- On average, families have less than three minutes from the time the first smoke alarm warns to escape a house fire. (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
Studies show interconnected smoke alarms provide earlier warning:
- Adding an interconnected smoke alarm inside the bedroom may provide improved warning of smoke and fire when bedroom doors are closed. (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
- Since single-station, battery-operated smoke alarms are still predominant in most homes, the wider use of interconnected smoke alarms is an opportunity for further improvement in home smoke alarm protection. (NFPA)
Experts say wireless interconnected smoke alarms provide the next level in protection:
- Wireless technology that uses radio frequency may offer the potential advantages of interconnectivity with less expense and installation compared to traditional hard-wired smoke alarms. (NFPA)
- Linking battery-powered home smoke alarms with wireless technology could potentially save lives. (CPSC)
- For older homes, wireless technology could link multiple smoke alarms without the costly hard-wiring currently needed. (CPSC)
- Radio frequency appears to be one of two most promising technologies for linking smoke alarms. (CPSC)
Protect your family by maintaining your interconnected smoke and fire alarm system with regular checks, and make sure all members of your household know what to do when they hear an alarm sound off.