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Smoke detectors make thoughtful Christmas gifts

Staff Report • Dec 17, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Here’s a Christmas gift idea for that friend or family member who is impossible to shop for — a dual sensor smoke alarm that warns of both flame and smoke.

These alarms use both ionization and photoelectric technologies. An ionization smoke alarm warns of flaming fires, such as a cooking fire. The photoelectric alarm is more responsive to a smoldering fire, such as that from overheated wiring.

Smoke alarms are also available for the deaf that use strobe lights to awaken them. Vibration equipment — like pillow or bed shakers — can also be installed to activate when a smoke alarm goes off.

Firefighters say having a properly functioning smoke detector in the home more than doubles a person’s chances of surviving a house fire. And a smoke detector that has had its battery drained or removed is of no use in alerting a family to a fire.

Tennessee routinely ranks among the top five states in the nation when it comes to the number of residents killed in house fires. Many of those lives might have been saved by a fully functioning smoke detector. That means a smoke detector should be tested regularly.

There should be a smoke alarm on each level of the house, inside every bedroom and outside the bedrooms in each sleeping area. Residents who use gas or oil space heaters also should install a carbon monoxide detector outside every bedroom.

And if you use an electrical or a kerosene heater, be sure that you are following all the safety precautions listed on the devices. That includes keeping the heater at least 3 feet from furniture, Christmas trees and other flammable materials.

A dual-sensor smoke alarm may cost a little more than a silk tie or a pair of knitted mittens, but how many ties and mittens do your relatives need anyway? A smoke alarm is a gift that — if properly maintained — keeps on giving.

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