These days it is rare to find a modern home without quality smoke alarms. Still, if you live in an older home, or simply need to replace your old alarms, where do you start? On the other hand, is the home extinguisher in a family home a necessity or a hype? Are there more types of fire extinguishers and which one would work best for you? Where is the optimal place to position them in a home?
Residential houses are covered with a different set of regulations than commercial properties. The only requirement for a family house is a linked smoke alarm, while larger domestic properties fall unto regulations that propose monitored detection. There is no legal requirement for homeowners to install fire extinguishers.
Types of smoke alarms
There are four types of smoke alarms. When choosing the right one for your home, consider the size of the room they’ll be installed, sensitivity, and the way of actuation.
- Optical: These alarms are effective at detecting larger smoke particles that rise from slow burning fires. As such, they are not suitable for kitchen use, as they are likely to be triggered if your toast gets burned.
- Ionisation: This type is among the least expensive and relatively easy to install. Ionisation alarms are very sensitive to small smoke particles from fast burning fires and will sound before smoke fills the room.
- Heat alarms: Although very suitable for kitchens, these alarms cover only very small areas. Larger kitchen will need several of them strategically positioned. They are actuated only by heat and are not sensitive to smoke particles.
- Combination alarms: probably the best option since they cover the most fire scenarios. A combination of optical and ionisation alarm, these will detect most common household fires, like smouldering of electrical wiring and fast burning fires that produce flames.
If you are still not sure which alarm would be best for you, consult a reputable company that specializes in fire protection and safety.
Fire extinguisher for homes
It’s not rare that safety experts recommend fire blankets for home use, especially in kitchens. Make sure your purchase a fire blanket that carries the Australian Standards Mark AS 3504. They are best used for cooker top fires, as well many other common small fires and they require minimum maintenance.
Still, the effectiveness of a blanket depends on obtaining a good physical seal between the blanket and the rim of the container. A dedicated class F extinguisher is a much better option. People behind Fire Safe ANZ install and service all fire blankets and extinguishers according to AS 1851.15, AS 1851.16 & AS 2444.
Class F extinguishers
The yellow fire extinguishers are specially designed to be used on deep fat fryers. Actually, they are the only extinguisher type that can effectively put out a deep fat fryer that is on fire. They operation has two components: they smother the fire by acting like foam in sealing the liquid from the oxygen, while the chemicals contained within the extinguished react with the burning oil or fat and cool it. They are available in two sizes, and when used need to be fully discharged into the fire in order to work correctly.
Apart from the use of fryers, they can be used on Class A and B fires, and materials such as wood, fabric and paper. Keep in mind, though, that the chemicals within can make the sprayed surface very slippery.
An optimal smoke alarm can protect lives and property in your home. While not required by law, a fire extinguisher is the best way to deal with localized fires indoors. Still, in order for both smoke alarms and fire extinguishers to be fully operational, they need to be regularly inspected and serviced according to manufacturer’s instructions.