A smoke alarm is a device that detects smoke and alerts the occupants of a building of a potential fire. Alarms should be tested regularly to ensure that they are working properly and will sound an alarm in the event of a fire.
What should I know about smoke alarm testing? There are two types of alarms: ionization and photoelectric. Ionization alarms have a small amount of radioactive material that creates an electric current. This current flows between two metal plates, which creates a small magnetic field. Smoke particles disrupt the flow of current and cause the alarm to sound. Photoelectric alarms have a light-sensitive sensor that is located in the path of the smoke. The smoke particles reflect the light onto the sensor, which triggers the alarm.
Alarms should be tested monthly to ensure that they are working properly. To test an ionization smoke alarm, press the test button on the unit. The alarm will sound if it is working properly. To test a photoelectric alarm, blow smoke into the unit from about 12 inches away. The alarm should sound within 30 seconds if it is working properly.
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