How has smoke alarm technology advanced?

Until a smoke alarm bleeps, it’s easy to forget that we are surrounded by them. Smoke alarms are installed in almost every building in the United Kingdom, with the law mandating this for all buildings other than residential properties.

The government has also announced plans to mandate the installation of smoke alarms in all social housing. The reason smoke alarms are taken so seriously is obvious: this technology is excellent at keeping people safe.

While we are surrounded by smoke alarms, very few people pay attention to them, let alone to how they have evolved over the years. Below, we discuss the advances made in smoke alarm technology and look at where it is today.

The evolution of smoke and fire detectors

In the very early days of smoke alarms, people were the only viable solution to detecting smoke and creating signals. Certain members of the community would watch out for smoke and fires from a vantage point and make a loud noise using a bell or whistle if they saw smoke. A community effort would then commence to put the fire out.

As time went on and populations grew larger, this system became obsolete. The first instance of the use of a piece of technology that resembled an actual fire alarm was in 1852. Business partners William Channing and Moses Farmer created a device that could alert fire departments. Detecting fires was still left to humans, but this device could be cranked to send a telegram to a central alarm station when a fire broke out.

In 1890, an inventor named Robert Upton patented the design of the modern fire alarm, which is when this kind of technology began gaining attention.

The first smoke detector

In 1932, a massive leap in technological progress occurred when a Swiss physicist accidentally invented the first ever smoke detector. While attempting to create a device that detects poison gas, the physicist lit a cigarette and realised his machine could detect smoke particles.

This invention became available to the masses when two men, Stanley Peterson and Duane Pearsall, invented the home smoke detector in 1965. These two inventors made massive amounts of money when the US government made it a legal requirement for homes to have smoke alarms installed. Back in those days, smoke alarms resembled steel beehives.

The technology today

Luckily, we no longer have to worry about installing humongous metal beehives in our houses to be protected. Consistent developments in the field have led to what we now know as the pinnacle of smoke alarm technology – the interlinked smoke alarm.

Interlinked smoke alarms are wireless devices that are connected by radio-frequency signals. This type of smoke alarm is incredibly effective at notifying owners about the presence of a fire because various alarms communicate with each other as part of a larger system.

If smoke is detected in one area of a house or property, the alarm closest to the smoke notifies all other alarms connected to the system in a matter of moments.

If you would like to know more about this technology or have any queries about installation, give us a call today. 

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