Smoke de­tec­tor tech­nol­ogy ad­vances

The Drumheller Mail - - MAIL WORKS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa 403-823-3784

For res­i­dents of­ten one of the pri­mary tools to keep fam­i­lies safe is a smoke de­tec­tor. And while these have been a fix­ture of homes for years, the tech­nol­ogy is con­tin­u­ing to im­prove mak­ing it more con­ve­nient and re­li­able for home­own­ers.

One re­cent ad­vance in tech­nol­ogy for smoke de­tec­tors is bet­ter bat­tery pro­tec­tion. In fact, many on the mar­ket will con­tinue to op­er­ate for up to 10 years. This can give prop­erty own­ers peace of mind that they have pro­tec­tion.

Fire Chief Bruce Wade likes the new tech­nol­ogy, he says own­ers can­not be­come com­pla­cent.

“My only con­cern is peo­ple still have to test them. They can’t put them up and for­get about them for 10 years and never clean them or never test them,” he said.

He says main­tain­ing a smoke de­tec­tor can be as sim­ple as dust­ing it.

“De­pend­ing on the type of smoke de­tec­tor, there is a pho­to­elec­tric eye, so that any­thing im­pedes that it sets the de­tec­tor off. Spi­ders get in them and build a web or there is dust,” he said.

He adds to make sure when buy­ing a smoke de­tec­tor it is ULC or CSA ap- proved and in­stalled prop­erly.

Part of in­stal­la­tion is mak­ing sure they are the proper de­tec­tors and plac­ing them in the proper place. In­stalling a de­tec­tor too close to cook­ing ar­eas or near show­ers can be a nui­sance. New build­ing codes call for smoke de­tec­tors in sleep­ing ar­eas, one in a com­mon area and one on ev­ery level of the house. There also has to be a car­bon monox­ide de­tec­tor.

Wade adds there are sys­tems that have a wifi con­nec­tion, that way if one goes off all of the de­tec­tors re­act.

“They have to have them now be­cause fire burns so quickly, peo­ple only have three min­utes,” said Wade.

Bob Sheddy of Drumheller Hous­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Cen­tury 21 Pow­ says they have been re­plac­ing its de­tec­tors with the 10-year pow­ered Smoke/CO units for over a year. He also worked with the Drumheller Co-op to bring them in for sale.

“Smoke de­tec­tors are ei­ther bat­tery op­er­ated or wired in, but even wired in ones have a backup bat­tery that needed to be changed once a year,” said Sheddy.

He likes the new tech­nol­ogy be­cause of­ten in rental prop­er­ties, res­i­dents may not be vig­i­lant in main­tain­ing the bat­ter­ies. In ad­di­tion, these new ones ac­tu­ally vo­cal­ize English and French com­mands if there is an is­sue, so no longer do res­i­dents have to fig­ure out what the dif­fer­ent pat­terns of beeps mean. (Of­ten once ev­ery 30 sec­onds means the bat­tery is dy­ing or the de­tec­tor is at end of life). “Res­i­dents of­ten call us af- ter hours to help di­ag­nose what the beep­ing is. Now they will know right away what is­sue the de­tec­tor is an­nounc­ing. Al­though bat­ter­ies are rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive some res­i­dents have is­sues safely reach­ing the de­tec­tor to re­place it.”

“As a prop­erty man­ager it is frus­trat­ing to find that a smoke de­tec­tor has had the 9V bat­tery re­moved. Some res­i­dents will call the of­fice and we would gladly send some­one to change the bat­tery at our cost, but when we do our ran­dom in­spec­tions, count­less times we find the bat­tery re­moved,” said Sheddy.

Fire Chief Bruce Wade shows the va­ri­ety of smoke de­tec­tors that are avail­able to home­own­ers.

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