October is Fire Prevention Month, and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has chosen “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives” as this year’s theme.  According to the NFPA, working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half.   Help protect your family by installing smoke detectors on every floor of your home and in every bedroom or sleeping area.

According the Jackie Hanf, an electrical supplies specialist at Gross Electric, there are several different types of smoke detectors to consider, including battery-operated devices and hard-wired systems.

“Battery powered smoke alarms offer an inexpensive and easy way to protect your home,” says Hanf.  As long as the batteries have been replace regularly, the battery power continues to work during power outages.  According to the NFPA, when smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.  “Some models have a front-load battery compartment,” says Hanf, “making it even easier for homeowners to replace the batteries.”  Alarms that are powered by sealed, long-life lithium batteries provide homeowners with the peace of mind that their smoke alarms are operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week — for 10 years!  After which time, the alarms should be replaced.

Newer homes are required by building safety codes to have interconnected alarms.  In an interconnected system, when any one alarm is triggered by smoke, all interconnected alarms within the home sound an immediate warning.  In new construction, it is easy to hard-wire these interconnected alarms into the home.  However, with the wireless technology that’s available, it’s possible for any home to have an interconnected system.

There are also smoke detectors that feature a voice alarm with programmable locations.  Hanf explains, “In the event of a fire, these devices not only sound a horn alarm, but can also tell you what room the fire is in.”  As an added level of protection, many models can detect carbon monoxide, as well as smoke.   The experts at Gross Electric carry several different models of smoke detectors and can help you determine which alarms are best for your home or business.

In addition to replacing your smoke alarms after 10 years, there are other things you can do to ensure that they are operating effectively.  The NFPA encourages homeowners to test all smoke alarms at least once a month, as opposed to the older recommendation of twice a year.  To keep smoke detectors in good working condition, the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department says to never paint smoke alarms, and to keep them free from dust and cobwebs.  You should also avoid placing them in front of air vents or too close to the kitchen stove.

A smoke alarm will alert you of a fire, but you still need to escape the fire.  For your protection, the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department recommends that you not only install smoke alarms, but that you have an escape plan to help you and your family get out of your home.  For more information about fire safety and prevention, visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website at