It is very rare to come across a home these days without acceptable smoke alarms. However, if you need to replace your old alarms, which ones do you choose? For that matter, do you need a fire extinguisher at home? Which type of extinguisher should you choose and where is the best place to position these items?
Private houses are covered by different rules to commercial properties, a normal house will only require linked smoke alarms, whereas a larger domestic property will come under LD3 regulations and will require monitored detection. Householders are not required by law to install fire extinguishers.
Which smoke alarm?
When it comes to choosing the right alarm for your home, there are 4 types to choose from.
Optical: Effective at detecting larger particles of smoke from slow burning fires. Not for use in kitchens, these alarms are likely to go off if you burn your toast.
Ionisation: Relatively easy to install and least expensive. These alarms are very sensitive to small smoke particles from fast burning fires and will sound before smoke gets thick.
Heat alarms: Suitable for kitchens, but cover very small areas so a large kitchen may require more alarms. These alarms are not sensitive to smoke particles.
Combination alarms: These combine both optical and ionisation smoke alarms. These alarms will detect the most common household fires – slow burning, for example from wiring and fast burning fires that produce flames.
These categories should help you decide which alarm to choose, but get in touch with us if you need any further advice.
Which fire extinguisher should I choose?
Very commonly, fire blankets are recommended for use in the home, particularly in the kitchen. These are recommended for use on cooker top fires primarily, alongside many other common smaller fires. However, fire blankets can impose a risk themselves. There is a greater risk of injury to the user, in the form of burns, than if a dedicated Class F fire extinguisher is used.
Class F Fire Extinguishers
These yellow fire extinguishers are specialist extinguishers and are designed for use on deep fat fryers. It is a proven fact that these extinguishers are the only ones that will put out a deep fat fryer that is on fire. They work in 2 ways:
They smother the fire and act like foam in sealing the liquid from the oxygen.
The chemicals contained within the extinguisher react with the burning oil or fat and cool it.
These extinguishers are available in 2 sizes and when operated they must be fully discharged into the fire in order for them to work correctly. In addition to fryers they can be used on Class A and B fires, involving materials such as wood, fabric and paper, but the additional chemicals within the extinguisher can make the area sprayed very slippery.
Watch the video of a class F fire extinguisher in use here.
If you need any advice on choosing, installing and testing either smoke alarms or fire extinguishers in your home, we will be very happy to help. Drop us a line or give us a call.