Alarms are the first line of defence in the event of a fire. They act as an early warning sign giving you the chance to evacuate premises and escape any fire-related danger.  Everyone wants to protect their homes and by law, any facility used for a commercial purpose must protect those that work inside it, but there is often some confusion as to the difference between a fire alarm and a smoke alarm.

Well, the clue really is in the title. One detects smoke, and the other detects fire. But as the saying goes, there is no smoke without fire, so both are equally important. In fact, more people will suffer from inhalation of smoke than they will from fire burns. Here’s why the two are so different and where they are best suited:

Smoke alarms

What are they?

Smoke alarms are devices that are able to detect smoke or fire, giving an audible alarm as a result. They are fantastic at detecting a fire in its early stages, allowing you adequate warning to evacuate before inhaling any harmful gases.  Smoke inhalation is the primary cause of fatality when it comes to fire-related deaths. In fact, in the majority of cases, the victims are asleep when the smoke enters their lungs, cementing the absolute requirement for smoke alarms.

What are the benefits?

Because they are simple yet effective, they are ideal for domestic use. Ideally, one should be placed on each level of the home, and in particular where you can hear it from the bedroom. It is advisable not to place them in areas that may cause frequent activation such as the kitchen or bathroom.

Many of these can be combined with carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon Monoxide is an odourless, tasteless and invisible gas, meaning you can be killed by it before you even know it existed. Combined smoke alarms can protect from this as well as smoke particles. 

Smoke detectors are the most basic device available on the market and are cheap additions to a building considering their vital role. They are best suited for homes, where people can exit the property quickly and easily. 

Fire alarms

What are they?

A fire alarm detects the presence of fire by monitoring the changes in environment associated with combustion. This can include the detection of smoke which is why they are commonly confused with smoke alarms.

In commercial environments, where fire alarms are best suited, if you employ more than five people, you need to have a written record of your fire assessment by law. This will affect how many fire alarms are required and what fire precautions should be made in order to protect the facility and its staff.

What are the benefits?

Fire alarms can be linked with other systems making for an efficient and safer system. For example, when a fire alarm is triggered, sprinkler systems can be activated, or the local fire station can be alerted.

For this reason, and for their ability to be more complex, fire alarms are generally not used in domestic environments.   

When you consider how much damage could be prevented, and how many lives are saved a year from their simple installation, their cost is minimal in comparison. 

Author Bio: 

Karen Asbury is Firemart’s Fire Safety Expert. Firemart are an online fire safety equipment retailer in the UK.

 We appreciate this informative article regarding the importance of  fire alarms  in large buildings, hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, schools, theaters, and places of work where many lives are involved.  Let this also be a reminder to keep your smoke detectors working, by checking the batteries every so often. pb





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