Common Problems with Common Smoke Alarms

Every home has a smoke detector. More than just a commonplace wall decoration, smoke detectors of some form are required in most states at this point. However, few of us go beyond meeting minimum requirements, leaving gaps in the safety of our home that could lead to a devastating loss in the event of a fire.

Common smoke alarms often use ionization technology, which uses electrodes to detect when the smoke levels of a room reach a dangerous point. However, these have been proven to be ineffective in alerting people in time of a fire in the home. Here are a few other common problems people have with the common smoke detector.

It won’t stop beeping
Even when the batteries are replaced, a common smoke alarm still chooses to beep over and over, causing many homeowners a lot of annoyance. These alarms can beep either because the battery is low or from false alarms, such as kitchen mishaps. While it is good to know it is functioning when it goes off because you burnt the pasta, that still doesn’t mean it will be effective in saving your life when only seconds count.

They don’t always alert you in time.
In a study of fatal fires, results showed that common smoke alarms did not even go off roughly 25% of the time. When it comes to the safety of your family, is 75% enough of a guarantee that you will all make it out alive?

They don’t sense every fire
Smoldering fires are a kind that produce little smoke and often start small. However, these can grow in a matter of seconds. They may seem like they are barely burning, but smoldering fires can still produce harmful elements in the air, which a smoke alarm should be able to detect and warn you of. But because these fires burn slowly and for a long time, it takes a while for common ionization alarms to even sense there is danger. By that time, it might be too late for you or your family.

They can’t be in every room
Because they are known for giving off false alarms, many smoke detectors are not allowed in rooms such as kitchens, garages, attics, utility rooms and bathrooms. Since these rooms often house items and activities that can give off regular false alarms, it does make some sense that an ionization alarm would be a nuisance if placed in there. However, these are also the rooms in the home most likely to be the source of a fire. If a fire begins in your attic, but you don’t have a smoke alarm installed in there, how are you expected to know there is a present danger to your family. Not installing smoke alarms in these rooms leaves you and your family vulnerable.

There is no other option
This is wrong. There are dozens of manufacturers, including Crossfire Alarms, which believe your family’s safety is of the utmost importance. When it comes to accuracy, Crossfire Alarms have been proven to be the most accurate and fast-responding alarms on the market. Their interconnected system not only allows you to be alerted sooner of a dangerous event in any room of the home, but their three alarm options allow you to know that there isn’t a single room in the home where you are vulnerable.

Settling for the basic ionization smoke alarms may seem like the easiest option, however, it is far from the safest. Before you think your home is safe from a fire, look at your alarms and ask if saving some money is worth the risk.

Campfire Safety: How To Camp Like A Champ

There’s this famous bear who has a saying that is something along the lines of, “Exclusively you can avert wild fires.” That’s not exactly the saying but you can probably figure out what is being referenced here. When you go camping the fire becomes the central location of the camp site. It’s your source of warmth and light, it’s where you cook, and it’s the place where Steve breaks out his guitar and plays “Wonderwall” for the hundredth time. It’s truly one of the most important things you have when you camp and it’s extremely important that you keep it safe. When you are setting up your fire pit here are a few things to keep in mind.

Survey the area

Most campsites you will go to have premade fire pits ready for your usage. If not, check the area and make sure there are no low branches, brushes, or bushes nearby. When you’ve got that nice crackling fire things can sometime pop out of it. It’s best to keep those things away from other flammable objects.

Prep your site

It’s important to clean up the area around where you are going to start your fire. Many fire pits have a metal ring to keep the fire contained but if you are hitting a fresh campsite you may not have this option. Be sure to line your pit with a ring of rocks. Not pebbles. Rocks. Also, make sure you keep your tents and gear a safe distance away from the pit. Think 10 feet more or less.

Water and a shovel

These are key elements to have near your fire at all times and can help control a fire if it starts to spread. Water (preferably in a bucket) obviously puts out fire but you can also cover the flames with dirt to extinguish any rogue flames. You know what’s great for picking up dirt? A shovel.

Watch it

It’s extremely important to always have someone watching the fire. Fire spreads quickly and taking your eye off of it for a second can lead to a bigger fire than you can handle. This is extremely important when camping with children or pets due to their sometimes unpredictable behaviors.

Put out before bed

This goes hand and hand with the last tip. You need to put the fire out and make sure it’s out before going to bed. This is best done by using that trusty water bucket or the shovel to cover the pit in water or dirt. Make sure the coals are out by stirring them and once they are cold or wet or a combination of the two you are done.

How The Smoke Alarm Got Its Start

Every day, smoke and heat detectors in homes and businesses do their part to help warn people in time of the present dangers of a fire. We have all grown up with different versions of fire detectors in our homes, and few of us ever gave them too much thought until it is too late. But where exactly did these small plastic alarms begin?

While his colleague, Thomas Edison, was working on the light bulb, Francis Robbins Upton was making huge strides in technology as well. Upton began his career as a mathematician and physicist. Upton was born in Massachusetts in July of 1852. He became the first student to officially earn, by examination, a graduate degree from Princeton University in 1877. Upton then moved to Berlin to study under Hermann von Helmholtz, where he learned Helmholtz’s views on how to analyze electrodynamics in mathematical ways.

In 1876, Thomas Edison had set up his laboratory in New Jersey and was looking for an assistant. Edison knew he wanted someone with good theoretical skills, so he asked Helmholtz who immediately recommended Upton. Upton began helping Edison with mathematical problems associated with his devices. Because he had no formal education, Edison relied on Upton to turn his ideas into possibilities through mathematics. Upton was the key to helping Edison come up with successful models of his ideas, such as the incandescent lamp and the electric light bulb.

In 1890, along with colleague Fernando Dibble, Francis Robbins Upton patented the first automatic electric fire alarm. In its original design, the smoke alarm only contained the battery, a bell-dome thereon, an open circuit with a magnet, and a thermostatic device. In its simplest form, the first smoke alarm would use the thermostatic device to detect abnormal amounts of heat due to smoke or fire. Once it hit the maximum temperature, it would signal the bell to sound. In their patent description, Upton and Dibble said their objective was to “produce an alarm complete in itself, simple in construction, without complicated circuits, and which shall not require constant attention.”

At the beginning, the smoke alarm was not easily attainable due to its high cost. IT was most often found in businesses or in the homes of wealthy people. Over time, however, their popularity grew, and now no home is complete without at least the most basic alarm. Following in Upton’s footsteps, Crossfire Alarms looked to create a product that worked without much fuss and was essential in saving lives. The Crossfire system of smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors takes Upton’s model to the next level for the safest, fastest responding detectors on the market.

From simple beginnings to its present state, the smoke alarm has become a staple in every home. With a clear goal to alert people of the event of a fire, Francis Robbins Upton was able to revolutionize the way we view home safety.

Keeping Your Baby Safe

According to the United States Fire Administration, USFA, children under five years old are the most likely to be killed or injured in the event of a fire. Babies and toddlers not only depend on us to keep them safe, but also are unable to recognize the dangers present when there is a fire. That is why it is important to fireproof your home whenever you baby proof.

Hide Heat Sources
Matches, lighters, candles, and other fire starters need to be kept far away from your child’s reach until they are old enough to understand the responsibilities and dangers associated with them. In addition, hide all flammable liquids, as children could also attempt to ingest these chemicals not knowing they are dangerous.

Baby-proof Outlets
Electrical outlet covers are an amazing way to keep babies from interacting with dangerous electrical currents. These small, inexpensive plastic devices plug into your wall outlets and are designed to be difficult to impossible for children to remove.

Watch Your Actions
Babies learn by watching and imitating us. If a child sees their parent eating with a spoon, the baby will attempt to do the same. While this can be beneficial, it can also mean you teach your children bad habits without even knowing. Always make sure you avoid lighting matches, using lighters, smoking, or messing with any dangerous or flammable materials when your child could be watching.

Fire Escape Plan
Before your child is able to walk, it is unlikely that they will be able to get out of their crib and crawl to safety in the event of a fire. That is why when you create a fire safety plan for your home, you need to make sure you know how to get to your baby to get it out of the home in time. Make sure you know which adult or parent is responsible for the baby, and where to meet so you know everyone is safe.

Smoke Alarms
Your smoke alarms need to be regularly checked to ensure they are working properly when they need to be. When it comes to a new addition to your family, consider upgrading your alarms so they can be more efficient and warn you sooner when you or your family are in danger.

The minute you find out you are expecting a child is when you need to begin preparing for their arrival. From building cribs and buying baby clothes, to baby-proofing the home, it is important to make sure you are ready to welcome your baby into the world. Fire safety might not be mentioned in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, but it could mean the difference between life and death for your baby.

Protecting Home When You’re Away

Planning a vacation is always exciting. You can look forward to new adventures, new locations, and new memories that you are likely to cherish forever. However, if you forget to keep your home safe when you aren’t there, you could come home to disaster. From theft to fire, when you aren’t there to look out for it, your home is vulnerable to a lot of dangers unless you prepare.

Get a House sitter
A house sitter will do two things. For one, it will ensure there is someone at your home who is consistently checking on pets, locks, and other things to make sure it is in as good of shape as it was when you left. Secondly, this will deter any thieves who think your home is abandoned and alone. Make sure you give them information for any neighbors, local officers, vets, or other people they may need to contact while you are gone.

Don’t tell Social Media
While it is tempting to brag when you will be out of town, it is not a smart practice. Vocalizing online that you will be gone is like telling thieves your home is unattended for a long period, giving them an exact window of opportunity. Wait until after your trip to post pictures and share your trip with everyone.

Tip off police
Especially if you live in a small community, letting police officers know when you will be gone for more than a week will allow them to plan to patrol your neighborhood at least once or twice while you are gone. Seeing a police car regularly in an area will deter thieves who know your house is now being watched.

Get a neighborly lookout
The one time nosey neighbors come in handy is when you are out of town. It can be the same person you have watching your house, but let a neighbor know you will be gone so they can inform you if any unidentified cars are at the home.

Don’t let your home look abandoned
Set light in and around the home to timers, so they go on and off at various times to make your home look lived in. Leaving all lights on can be suspicious if a burglar is watching at 3am, so timers help it look like someone is there turning lights on as needed. Also, see if you are able to stop your mail and newspaper delivery for the duration of your trip, so it doesn’t pile up.

Unplug electronics
Go through your home and unplug any electronics that don’t serve a purpose while you are away. This will not only lower your electricity bill, but will also help prevent an electrical fire form happening in the home.

Lock up
Make sure every door, window, nook and cranny are locked before you leave. IF you have a spare key, place it in the house so no one else can use. Make sure your home is ready to take care of itself while you are enjoying a home away from home.

What To Do If Your Crossfire Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off

We’re really glad that you decided to invest in a state-of-the-art carbon monoxide detector for your home. At Crossfire Alarms, we take the threat posed by carbon monoxide very seriously, which is why we’ve manufactured our detectors to exceed all industry standards. In addition, that’s why we’ve built them to communicate with each other wirelessly. We want to ensure that you’re alerted to a danger anywhere in your home, everywhere in your home. This, we believe, is the only way to adequately protect you and your family from injury or loss of life as the result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Rather obviously, we hope that you never have to hear your Crossfire carbon monoxide detector going off for a real emergency (only when you’re testing it). However, in the event that you do, we thought we should let you know what to do in a real carbon monoxide emergency.

First, make sure that you immediately turn off any appliances or equipment that might be causing carbon monoxide levels to rise. The levels will only build if those devices are left on, and this could be very dangerous.

Second, open windows and doors to increase ventilation to the area. However, don’t simply do this and remain where you are. Instead, get yourself to an outdoor area where there will be an abundance of clean air to breathe.

Third, once you’re out of the area, don’t go back in. Even if someone needs rescuing, you’ll be putting your life at risk by reentering.

Fourth, call the authorities! Instead of risking your life, let the authorities, who are qualified to deal with such a situation, do what they do best. A carbon monoxide leak is a serious event, and you need the right people to come in order to deal with it.

For more on keeping your home safe from carbon monoxide, take a look at our carbon monoxide detectors over at Crossfire Alarms.

Trouble with Smoke Detectors in the City of Milwaukee

We get frustrated when we hear that people aren’t using smoke detectors, but probably not as frustrated as the fire department in Milwaukee. According to FOX6, there have been a string of fire-related deaths in the city, and they all have one thing in common. According to FOX6’s report, the Milwaukee fire department’s Deputy Chief has this to say: “Every fire-related fatality this year in the city of Milwaukee has been in a place that’s had no working smoke detector.” His comments came in reaction to an apartment fire that claimed the life of one individual on August 17th. Even though the fire only took a mere 25 minutes to quell, it proved fatal.

When it comes to safety within your home, there’s simply no excuse for not having a working smoke detector. Fires can spread incredibly quickly, and the effects of smoke inhalation can be quite acute. For this reason, it’s easy to be quickly overcome by a fire and its smoke if you’re not given adequate warning of its presence. Had the individual in this case had a working smoke detector within his apartment, it’s very likely that he’d be alive today to tell about it today.

If you’ve been playing it fast and loose with your safety, then please make today the day that you decide to turn over a new leaf. Consider investing in a smoke detection system produced by Crossfire Alarms. The detectors that we manufacture are state of the art, offering multiple methods of detection that ensure you get the earliest warning of danger possible. Even more, these alarms communicate with each other wirelessly, which means that you’ll be alerted to a danger in your home, wherever you might be within your home.


“Not one working smoke detector:” Man dies in fire, is community getting the message?

The Silent Killer Strikes Again in Texas

It always hurts us deeply when we learn that carbon monoxide has taken another life, which was the case in Texas recently. According to ABC13, three individuals lost their lives as the result of carbon monoxide poisoning in North Harris County, Texas. No one even knew that anything was amiss, until a neighbor came to the home and spotted someone who was lying on the ground. When the firefighters arrived on the scene, they discovered that the amount of carbon monoxide present in the home was more than 7 times higher than what would be considered normal. If that doesn’t seem like a lot of carbon monoxide, then consider this: According to ABC13’s report, the firefighters had to cut a hole into the home with a chainsaw in order to get sufficient ventilation into the home so that they could conduct an investigation.

Although the report does not specify the cause behind the high levels of carbon monoxide within the home, one thing is clear: Carbon monoxide continues to be a danger to households no just in Texas, but throughout the entire country. While prevention can go a long way toward avoiding these senseless tragedies, it can only get one so far.

At Crossfire Alarms we manufacture state-of-the-art carbon monoxide detectors and alarms. These detectors and alarms use multiple forms of detection to monitor the carbon monoxide levels in your home or place work for any abnormalities, alerting you before there’s the possibility of a fatal catastrophe. We know that these simple pieces of equipment can save countless lives, and we wish that those individuals in Texas, who had their lives senselessly ripped away form them by “the Silent Killer”, had had one of our alarms installed in their home.


Sometimes Even the Authorities Get it Wrong with Carbon Monoxide

If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you may remember that water pipe break that occurred in Los Angeles. It was a terrible tragedy for the community, one that only exacerbated the unprecedented drought that the region has been experiencing. Even more, it caused significant damage to surrounding properties, including the Pauley Pavilion at UCLA.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why is a company that manufactures carbon monoxide detectors talking about flooding in Los Angeles?” As part of the clean-up efforts at Pauley Pavilion, six people had to be hospitalized as the result of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to a report by KPCC. It seems that they were operating a portable generator in an indoor space, and that the generator didn’t have adequate ventilation to the outdoors. Thankfully, the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning were immediately identified, and those six individuals got the medical attention they needed.

This incident highlights a couple points we’d like to make about carbon monoxide and carbon monoxide poisoning. No doubt you’re one of many families who’s invested in a portable generator in recent years, given all of the terrible weather that the country has been experiencing. If this is case, then make sure that you NEVER use that portable generator indoors. These generators create significant levels of carbon monoxide around them, and can be quite deadly if operated in this fashion.

Also, remember that the dangers of carbon monoxide are everywhere, even in a situation like the one above. For this reason, we recommend that you protect yourself and your family with a carbon monoxide detector and alarm. Because the effects of carbon monoxide can be subtle before they become fatal, this is the only way to properly protect yourself from possible loss of life. So, don’t put yourself and others at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Purchase a carbon monoxide detector and alarm from Crossfire Alarms today!

Smoke Detector Dos and Don’ts

So you’re taking the necessary step of protecting you and your family against possible death or injury from a fire by installing a smoke detector system in your home? Good for you. At Crossfire Alarms, we’re constantly surprised by how many people don’t take this important step toward ensuring their safety, and we’re glad that you’re not one of those people. We hope that you opted for a state-of-the-art wireless system like the one that we manufacture, but even if you didn’t, we thought it would be useful to share some smoke detector “dos and don’ts.”

DO: Place at least one smoke detector on every level of your home. This is the bare minimum of coverage you can offer yourself, and using any fewer smoke detectors might prove to be a catastrophic mistake.

DON’T: Place smoke detectors too close to the kitchen. The fumes that are produced by cooking can cause smoke detectors to go off, which will only create an annoyance for you, and increase the likelihood that you or someone else will move to disable the detector. And a disabled detector can’t protect you and your family.

DO: Place smoke detectors in bedrooms. We’re vulnerable to just about anything when we’re sleeping, and this is especially true in the case of a fire. With smoke detectors in the bedrooms, you’ll be assured of being woken up in the event of an emergency.

DON’T: Tamper with your smoke detectors. You need these smoke detectors to save your life in the event of an emergency, and they can’t very well do that if you’ve been messing around with them. Let them do their jobs undisturbed.

DO: Test your smoke detectors regularly. Because it’s not often game time for your smoke detectors, they don’t get a lot of “use.” Test them periodically to ensure that they’ll work in the event that they’re needed.

For more on keeping your home safe, take a look at our alarms over at Crossfire Alarms.