Fire alarms are pieces of fire equipment created and placed at strategic areas within buildings. They are meant to carry out a number of functions, namely to alert of a fire or alert people to move out of a location that is detected to be on fire. Over the years, fire alarms have been improved and today the level of accuracy obtained is much higher than before.

Smoke detectors are one of the most common forms of fire alarms available today. These are highly effective and millions of units are installed in households every day.  According to the National Fire Protection Association,  all homes in the Ireland should have at least one today. However some of these may not be functioning due to lack of proper maintenance service.

A smoke detector alerts those around of the presence of smoke or fire in the house. It is advised to have one in most of the rooms in your house especially the kitchen, basement and garage. This way, the smoke can be detected immediately it starts. Once smoke is detected, an alarm goes off and people are able to come in and quell it. If the fire is too big, the fire department should be alerted immediately.

Another common fire alarm is the one we see along corridors in public places such as office buildings and institutions such as school. These have a well recognized ‘break glass’ message written on them. These alarms are intended to alert the masses of the need to evacuate due to a fire hazard. They are common in areas with high traffic such as public buildings, schools and hospitals.

They are manually operated and one has to activate them to initiate the alarm. This is done by breaking the cover glass or by pulling a lever. Once initiated, the fire service is alerted immediately. The biggest benefit of this alarm is that it avoids a situation where people are trapped inside buildings on fire, with smoke or without exits. The alarm is able to get everyone outside to avoid casualties.

Other fire alarms provide a combination of automatic detection and alerting. These are better because they can salvage a situation where occupants are not in, are asleep or have not detected the fire. Immediately the sensors detect smoke, they initiate an alarm warning. This warning can be a siren, a voice recording, strobe lights or a combination of several.

Having a fire alarm greatly increases the chances of preventing a fire early on. Besides that, ensuring that the alarm is working is equally important. This can be done through routine checks. Alarms need to be connected to a power source. In addition, they need to be placed strategically in places where people can activate them where need be.