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Smoke detectors – now a must in every Singaporean home

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The new regulations in Singapore that have become effective from June 2018 onwards, state that it is essential for all new homes to have smoke detectors installed. Benedict Koh, president of the Fire Safety Managers’ Association tells that while Singaporeans have been persuaded strongly to voluntarily install fire extinguishers and fire alarms in their homes for several years, take-up rates have been consistently low.

What kind of smoke detector should homeowners go for?

The smoke detector of choice is a typical battery-operated device. It has the ability to detect smoke from burning fabric and furniture in no time. After smoke is detected, the device does the job of making the occupants aware and alert accordingly.

This device usually costs $60 – $80 for a basic version and an extra $50 for installation. As per the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the authorities will work with the most basic level of leaders to identify the genuine needs of households that require financial support to pay for such devices.  

What is the ideal place for the smoke detector to be installed?

Homeowners are expected to have one smoke detector in each room in their home in the ideal scenario. However, the kitchen should be excluded from the list so that the detector will not be falsely enticed in any manner by smoke arising from cooking! However, since the cost factor is involved as well, it is more feasible for households to have only one device for the entire home.

Is it necessary to install smoke detectors at home?

Last year, two-thirds of fires that sums up to approximately 2,800 fires occurred in homes. Due to this threatening scenario, the authorities are seeking for a genuine growth in the fire safety standards with the help of these new regulations. As far as the effectiveness of these devices is concerned, they certainly give way to a positive and significant impact. There are substantial evidence to prove this claim. For instance, in the United States, the death rate related to fires in homes with working alarms was pretty less by almost half the amount when compared to homes without working alarms.

What other measures can I take to save my home from fires?

In addition to installing smoke detectors, make sure to test them on a daily basis and switch out the batteries every six months. You need to ensure that your family members identify the sound that the smoke detector makes. This is specifically important for households that accommodate elderly who might not be able to hear clearly. Also, you ought to be cautious at the time of cooking. Never let children cook without supervision. Make sure not to smoke in bed. Do not burn candles near your bed or near the curtains. Always make sure to replace worn electrical cords. Avoid overloading power outlets with too many plugs at a time.

What to do when a fire breaks out at home?

When a fire breaks at home, make sure to maintain calm without panicking. Alert all members of the family urgently. If possible, close the door of the affected room so that the fire is contained. Once the door is closed, evacuate the area immediately via the stairs and not the lift. Make sure to dial 995 for the SCDF. Do not cause any delay by trying to retrieve your belongings. Avoid even trying to return to the building until it has been cleared by the authorities.

In case there is a fire extinguisher and/or a hose reel in the near vicinity, make use of this only if you are confident of fighting the fire without causing any form of risk to yourself. When the fire is wild, or it is difficult for you to even breathe due to the smoke in the air, do not fight the fire. Instead focus on getting out of the building as early as possible.

Many Singaporeans might be of the opinion that a fire at home as something that is unlikely to happen to them. However, it is always better to take precautionary measures and get educated regarding this earlier rather than to be sorry later. After all, emergency always occurs uninvited! The smoke detector is a smart investment to make to save your precious life from the venomous grip of fire! So, install the smoke detector when you move into your new house without delay.

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