Chemistry

How Smoke Detectors Work



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In explaining how smoke detectors work it is all too easy to launch into technical jargon that would only interest the more intellectual reader. That is the type of reader would would spend hours on the net investigating the mating habits of the Peruvian bat winged spider moth only to find that it doesn't exist . Maybe it does. Who really cares ? Who really cares how smoke detectors work as long as they do work ?



All I need to know is that smoke detectors work by waking you up by emitting an ear piercing scream when they detect a puff of smoke. At least that is the theory. Some people only buy one smoke detector and place it in the kitchen. Because the detector goes off whenever the oven door is opened or toast is burnt by becoming jammed in the toaster those same people disconnect the battery. Any technical explanation of how a smoke detector is completely wasted on those people when they ignore the most basic of instructions to make sure the battery is connected and hasn't gone flat, at all times.



The location of smoke detectors is most important. The kitchen is not the best place for a smoke detector if is going to be triggered all the time. Also most people sleep in bedrooms which may be far away from the kitchen. There is no point in knowing how a smoke detector works if you are so far away from a solitary smoke detector that you cant hear it if it did go off. People should be more concerned with knowing how many smoke detectors to buy and where to place them rather than understanding the technical side of smoke detectors.



Some people may fancy themselves as heavy sleepers. They may be the type of people who begin to read all the technical jargon, fail to comprehend any sentences beyond the ninth paragraph and fall into deep slumber from brain strain. It would be a lot simpler just to accept that smoke detectors work by emitting a high pitched sound designed to wake you up. It would be more important for people concerned about being deep sleepers to know that there are smoke detectors specially designed to wake the dead (people who disconnect the battery) than marveling over the fact that most people suffocate from inhaling toxic fumes before the flames reach them.



It is strange that some people who go to the trouble of reading all they can about smoke detectors and go to the trouble of even putting a smoke detector in the toilet in the vain hope of giving up smoking , do not actually test the smoke detectors. Worst still they have no fire drill in place. In the event that fire does occur the family has no evacuation plan and no place to meet and do a head count. Too often parents are injured running back into a burning house when the child has already escaped and is safe outside. Too often a child is not taught to crawl along the floor rather than stand up and possibly suffocate from inhaling toxic fumes. Too late families discover that the smoke detectors were cheap and virtually ineffective. There is simply no point in learning theory of smoke detectors if you do not put it into practice by doing a fire drill in your home every so often.




So, it is great to know all the technical aspects of fire alarms ,like knowing that they contain radio active material and care should be taken when disposing of them. I would simply be content with knowing that they work by waking you up. For that reason I would want to buy one that did exactly that and place it where it did exactly that. More over I would have several smoke detectors guaranteed to do exactly that. Most importantly I would have fire drills to save my family and carry out regular tests on the smoke detectors to do exactly that.



You see you might know all there is to know about smoke detectors but if you are so stupid that you do not have them in your own home then all your knowledge could disappear in a puff of smoke.

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