Smoke Detector – What is a Smoke Detector and How it Works?

What Is a Smoke Detector?

A smoke detector is a device that senses smoke and produces a loud alarm together in a unit. Properly installed, tested, and maintained smoke detectors give you an early warning of fire, which increases your chances of getting out. Some homes do not have any smoke detectors, some do not have working batteries and sometimes fails to detect the smoke or heat. It is common practice in this new era of technology to install smoke detectors into family units, commercial, and industrial settings for the security of the occupants.

Smoke Detector Saves Lives!


What are the two (2) types of smoke detectors?


Ionization smoke detection is generally more responsive to flaming fires: it has a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates, which ionize’s the air and causes current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the flow of ions, thus reducing the flow of current and activating the smoke detector.


A photoelectric smoke detector operates using a light source, a light beam collimating system and a photoelectric sensor. When smoke enters the optical chamber and crosses the path of the light beam, some light is scattered by the smoke particles, directing it at the sensor and thus activating the smoke detector. This type of photoelectric responds best to slow smouldering fires.


Where Should Smoke Detector Be Installed?

  1. Install near every bedroom and on every level of your home.
  2. Smoke seeks the highest level so install no lower than 18 inches from the ceiling.

Make sure to choose the right smoke detector for your house and follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions before installing. 

How To Choose The Right Smoke Detector In Malaysia?

How To Make Sure The Smoke Detector Last Longer?

  • Change the batteries at least once a year
  • Test each detector once per month. Press the test button once a month to make sure that it is functioning properly. (You can do a smoke test by blowing out a candle and letting its smoke drift towards the smoke detector)
  • Dust or vacuum the smoke detectors regularly.
  • Keep the unit free of paint, stickers or other decorations that may prevent it from working properly.
  • Replace the smoke detectors every 10 years, sooner if it is not working properly.

What Should I Do If The Smoke Detector Is Not Functioning?

  • Have a home fire escape plan and make sure that everyone knows about it.
  • Practice the pre-planned fire drill at least twice a year.
  • Identify 2 ways to get out of every room.
  • Decide on one meeting place outside the home.


🤔 How Effective Are Smoke Detectors

smoke detector is often disregarded but very essential to ensuring your home is safe. Many fire deaths happen in the home when people are asleep, especially at night or early in the morning. Breathing in the smoke and toxic gases from the fire is usually the cause of death, not because of being burned.

Fire can spread quickly in less than 3 minutes, death or serious injury due to fire is less in homes where smoke detectors were installed and maintained. People have nearly half of a better chance of surviving a fire if their home has the recommended number of smoke detectors. 

For further info, watch this video from DFES of Western Australia.


smoke detector




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