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In college, my roommates always knew when I was cooking because the smoke detector would go off. I'm much better now, and can make a decent meal, but because I live in a small place, there are still a few rare times when this happens. It can be scary, even if you are pretty sure you are the reason it is going off, and that there is no other reason for it. It's when the detector goes off in the middle of the night that you have to worry about what is going on and how quickly you can get out of the house.
When it comes to the smoke detector, placement is key. You can't have one in the wrong spot, and you probably need to have more than one. Even small places should have at least two. If you have a smoke detector in almost any space, your notice will be much quicker if there is a fire. While thinking about your home being on fire is not something most want to imagine, you do want to try, so that you know you have your detectors positioned in the best places for the earliest warning.
You should always have a smoke detector in each bedroom, and then in common areas. They should always be placed high up on the wall, as smoke rises and that is the best place for the earliest possible detection. Other than a smoke detector, you should also have at least one fire extinguisher in your home. If you have more than one floor, make sure you have at least one on each. If you have a fire downstairs, you don't want to have to run up the steps to get to the only one you have. Make sure they are always in good working condition as well.
A big mistake some make with the smoke detector is that they unplug them or take them down when they have gone off. If you have smoky kitchen, this might be something that happens quite often. You can leave them down until you are done and the smoke clears, but you have to remember to put the smoke detector back up. It might be something of a pain to deal with if they are touchy, but that is far better than having nothing at all. Also remember to check the batteries to be sure they are all in good working condition. They can't help you if they simply don't work.
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