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Smoke detectors, why are they so important in Spain?

 The probability of dying caught by the flames of a fire is four times lower if you have at least one automatic smoke detection system at home

Every year, cautious estimates suggest that over 5,000 people die from residential fires in Europe. The number of people injured is, also according to cautious estimates, about 10 times as high.

Although the death rates of people dying in fire in Spain is 0.21 compared to 0.38 in UK. (See https://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/fires/by-country/), smoke is the main cause of death in domestic fires, which in 2019 (latest available data) claimed the lives of 165 people in Spain. This figure is 34% higher than in 2018, which shows that we face a real risk. However, statistics affirm that if we have an automatic fire detection system at home, the probability of dying trapped by flames is four times lower. The goal of these devices is to detect smoke as soon as possible. When this happens, the device launches an alarm signal that allows the occupants of the house to react in time, even if they are currently asleep. But which one is the most suitable and where should we place it? Keep reading this article to find out!.

 

First things firstTypes of fire detectors, which is better?

The home smoke detector is a small, low-cost, easy-to-install autonomous device that does not require electrical installation and can be purchased in hardware stores and large DYS stores. The most common are photoelectric or optical sensor detectors, with a cost of between 15 and 50 euros.

These devices are battery-operated or battery-powered, which, when used, emit a small warning beep repeatedly. It is best to change the battery once a year or when indicated by the manufacturer, although there are already devices that have a battery that lasts ten years. “To make sure everything is in order, the detector has a check button that you have to press regularly. When doing so, the alarm will sound, which indicates that the battery is working .

There are also special detectors for people with restricted hearing or vision. For rooms with combustion heating appliances such as boilers, stoves, fireplaces or braziers, it is best to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Gas detectors are also marketed. Even some manufacturers already sell combined detectors, capable of carrying out two or three types of detection.

 

Where is it better to place it?

Home detectors are attached to the ceiling - never to the walls - using small screws that secure their base or with good quality double-sided tape.

In conventional flats it is advisable to place at least one detector at the confluence of the common areas that is, in the corridor between the bedroom area and the living room, but far enough away from the kitchen to avoid false alarms. In the event of a fire, the smoke rises and spreads under the ceiling, so the most suitable position to install the detector is in the central part of the roof. To avoid gaps, you should never be closer than 30 cm from walls or corners. And on sloping roofs, it will be placed near the top, never below 60 centimeters measured vertically.

In garages and kitchens, on the other hand, heat or flame detectors must be installed and the photoelectric ones should be dispensed with.

 

Is a smoke detector enough or do I need more?

In principle, with a detector it can be enough. but if the house exceeds 70 square meters, it is recommended to install a second device near the front door, no more than seven meters away,  For houses with two or more floors, such as single-family houses or duplexes, there must be at least one device on each floor.

In my opinion, for maximum protection it is advisable to have a detector in the living room and one in each room, especially in those where people with limited reaction capacity rest, such as the elderly, the sick or children. Remember that a fire detector can save your life!!

 

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