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Tag: False Alarms

How to Prevent False Alarms

Let’s be honest – false alarms are annoying. Sure, it’s better safe than sorry and more often than not, false alarms are totally worth it. Almost all of us would rather have that happen than the alternative. With that being said, it doesn’t mean they should be happening frequently. There are things you can do to ensure that false fire alarms aren’t an ongoing issue in your home or place of business.

What Causes Them?

There are a lot of reasons that fire alarms can get tripped. Reasons include dust, insects, strong chemicals, and poor installation, let’s take a closer look.

Dirt, Dust, and Bugs

Believe it or not, insects cause a lot of false alarms. Some are so small that they’re able to get inside the device and inadvertently mess around with its sensors. This can be exacerbated by excess dust and dirt – which can make your detector overly sensitive to things in a given area; therefore increasing the likelihood of a false alarm.

Poor Installation

The fact is most business owners at first tend to view fire safety as a sidebar issue to what they have going on with their day-to-day. This makes them want to save on costs by using more inexpensive equipment. While you don’t need the Cadillac of fire safety equipment, you DO need to invest in dependable, reliable brands and products.

Doing so will save you a ton of money. In fact, most false alarms are caused by low-quality detectors and even worse – poor installation or incorrect placement. Things like being installed too close to a bathroom or in an area where they’re exposed to pollen particles or barbecue smoke from outside your home can also make your detector more susceptible to a false alarm. Additionally, be careful about your alarm’s proximity to heat-generating assets like ovens, stoves, radiators, and the like as those can trip alarms, too.

The best rule of thumb is to try to place your alarms 10-20 feet away from these sorts of things – making it easier to avoid a false alarm. 

Chemicals

One of the biggest culprits for false alarms is chemicals. Microparticles from inside your wall and even some cleaning agents can trigger your detector. When you’re repainting your home or commercial space – we definitely recommend disabling your alarm *while* you work and then turn it back on once you’ve had a few hours to settle.

What Can I Do To Avoid These Things?

The first thing you should always try to do is to clean up the area near your alarm. Just like anything else, they accumulate dust, dirt mold, and other debris. Vacuum vents near detectors, sweep and clean the areas around them, even gently wipe them down. And always – rest your device when you do.

Additionally, always be sure you have a fire safety pro come through once a year just to check up on your alarms. They may need minor things like battery replacement – but they can also help you figure out where to best place your detectors so they can do their job as intended. Doing so – will dramatically decrease the risk of a false fire alarm.

And above all else – even if you hear an alarm and you’re 99% sure it’s nothing; follow your regular fire safety protocols to the ‘t’. Exit the building, get people to safety – then try your best after the coast is clear, to try to identify what caused it. And if you’re unsure, call in a pro.

If you have a question about this or any other fire and life safety topic, please contact Protegis Fire & Safety.

How to Prevent Accidental False Fire Alarms

Let’s face it – everyone hates false fire alarms. While we could give you the usual ‘preventative maintenance’ pitch as a means to reduce unexpected activations – the truth is that alarms can get set off all the time for a whole range of totally unexpected and random things – all of which can be disruptive to your day – whether that’s in your home or at your place of work.

Today, we’re going to break down what you or a licensed professional can do to make sure that you greatly reduce the risk of any unwanted fire alarms or activations in the future.

Keeping Activations to a Minimum

Make sure that your pull stations are all clearly labeled and located where they’re A.) easy to get to and B.) where there’s no chance they might get accidentally pulled. Location of your alarms is paramount in the event you need them – but there is such a thing as being accessible without being an obstruction. There are protective pieces you can put over the alarms to make sure accidental alarm trips don’t happen, so ask your fire safety pro about them and whether they make sense to install.

Location and Other Possible Issues

There are a whole bevy of potential issues in a given room for a fire alarm system – so many that it’s easy to overlook them. Is your smoke detector too close to your HVAC system? What about smoke detectors in the laundry room? Is your pull station parked next to a bay door? Be on the lookout for any and all factors that could potentially result in a false fire alarm because the chances are that at some point – they may trip it.

Like we said above – this is a tricky one – because accessibility trumps everything – but most spaces should provide a friendly enough layout where your fire alarm is easy to get to without being stuck next to some sort of element that could set them off accidentally.

Special Concerns for Industrial Spaces

In any high-energy locale – like a factory or industrial setting – power surges can be a constant worry – not just for production and equipment malfunctions – but for alarms as well. Power surges are mostly just a cost of doing business – but the wrong one can set your alarm off and especially when you’re in a high-risk industrial setting, that false alarm can cause more than just a little stir. Make sure you have industrial-grade surge protectors in place to make sure you don’t have to deal with this issue- but even more specifically – have surge protectors installed with your alarms.

In addition to protecting against electrical surges, you should also have proper ventilation in place as certain chemicals can mix with other chemicals and cause an overreaction in your system. The same goes for any space where there’s a lot of steam, vapors, and the like. Be sure to talk to a professional and identify the kinds of detectors that will be able to help you in this situation should it ever arise.

If you have a question about this or any other fire protection topic, please contact Protegis Fire & Safety.