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.
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.
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.
How To Deal With A Fire In Your Kitchen
When it comes to the kitchen, there’s a lot going on when you’re trying to make a delicious dinner, and sometimes one’s attention can slip. When this happens, a fire can break out. Now, this doesn’t happen very often, and, if you’re lucky, it will never happen. But, even so, because you may have never caused or had to deal with a kitchen fire before, we thought that we’d inform you of what to do just in case.
One important thing to remember about dealing with a fire in your kitchen is this: fires need oxygen to sustain themselves. If they can’t get oxygen, or if they use up all of the oxygen available to them, they’ll go out. So, if you’ve managed to start a fire in your microwave, stove, or even a pot or pan, simply deprive that fire of its source of oxygen. You can do this by putting a lid on a pot or pan, or, in the case of an oven or microwave, by simply closing the door. Also, remember to turn the appliance off and deny it of any additional heat.
Here’s another important thing to remember: You know what they say about oil and water, right? That they don’t mix? Well this is especially true in the case of a fire. Pouring water on a fire that contains burning oil or grease can have terrible consequences, and it can even cause the fire to spread to other areas of your kitchen. Instead, try smothering the fire with a lid or wet towel. Or, if you have a fire extinguisher that was built for this purpose, then use it!
Finally, don’t be a hero! If the fire is out of control and spreading, you’re putting yourself at risk by continuing to fight it. Get the authorities involved as soon as possible; only they have the tools necessary to fight the fire and keep it from spreading.