Fires in the home can have many causes: defective electrical appliances, overheated frying fat or unattended burning candles. A small fire can quickly turn into flame inferno. Therefore, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers should not be missing in any apartment.
Every year more than 400 people in Germany die from a fire in their own home - most of them do not suffer from burns but from smoke poisoning. In addition, there is a far greater number of personal injury and property damage from the flames and smoke.
Even if you take the usual precautionary measures - such as not leaving fire unattended and storing lighters childproof - this can lead to a fire in your home. To make sure that such an emergency is not an emergency, there should be two things in every household:
- working, high-quality smoke detectors on some ceilings
- at least one technically perfect and safety-checked extinguisher
In addition, all family members should know how to behave properly in case of fire and how the emergency number of the fire department is (112)! The loud alarm of a smoke alarm warns of treacherous smoke that spreads silently and lightning fast in the apartment.
The noise and noise of the smoke alarm are particularly important at night, because most victims are surprised by fire and smoke in their sleep and often notice the smoke too late or not at all. The result: you inhale the highly toxic carbon monoxide, which is almost always present in the smoke. Inhaled only three times, carbon monoxide can already lead to unconsciousness, after about ten breaths, a person is dead.
Not all federal states require the installation of smoke detectors. The result: Only in a few private households are the small, white boxes to be found. According to the unanimous opinion of experts, smoke detectors could cut the number of people killed each year by half.
How do smoke detectors work?
Most detectors work according to an optical principle, with stray light. At regular intervals, light rays are emitted in the measuring chamber of the smoke detector. If smoke enters the measuring chamber, these light rays are deflected and hit a photocell, which then triggers the shrill alarm sound immediately.
People who are hard of hearing, people with a high-frequency loss (sounds beyond a certain frequency can no longer be heard), or people living alone who drop their hearing aids at night can not hear the loud alarm sound of a smoke detector (85 dbA). That's why they have special smoke detectors. In an emergency, these send out a bright, well-visible flash of light. At night, a small disc ensures quiet sleep, which is connected to the detector and placed in the bedding of the sleeper. It vibrates in the event of an alarm and warns the hearing impaired at night even before the deadly smoke.
How many smoke detectors should it be?
The recommended number of smoke detectors depends on the size of the apartment. In small apartments or apartments usually a smoke detector in the middle of the room is sufficient. The minimum for a three-room apartment and for multi-storey houses is one unit in the hallway, better still in every living room and bedroom.
Attention: In the equipment of the house or apartment with smoke detectors loft, boiler room and home workshop should not be forgotten - especially when home improvement, it always comes back to serious fire accidents. But: In the kitchen, bathroom, garage or boiler room conventional devices are inappropriate, because the vapors generated in these rooms (or even many dust particles) can trigger false alarms. Smoke detectors with a new intelligent sensor or a mute switch make sense here.
By the way: smoke detectors should always be mounted on the ceiling!
How do you recognize good smoke detectors?
- Qualitatively high-quality smoke detectors (recognizable among other things by the sign VdS) are already available for under ten euros - for example in the electrical trade, with security companies and fire protection companies or in the hardware store.
- Battery powered smoke detectors are recommended because they are also operational when the power fails.
- With good smoke detectors, an audible warning signal sounds automatically and for a long time if the battery needs to be replaced. Most manufacturers today offer smoke detectors with a ten-year battery. For safety's sake, a new battery should be used more often.
- For battery-operated smoke detectors, look for a test button that will allow you to check at any time whether the device is still functional. Some manufacturers also offer devices that can not be closed when no battery is inserted.