After fire destroys Oahu home, what you need to know about smoke detectors


The Honolulu Fire Department is once again reminding people to check their smoke detectors for the new year and if you don’t have one, to consider buying one.

One of the places where you can purchase a smoke detector for your house, is City Mill. There, smoke detectors are available under $10. 

“It’s very easy to install and you know there is certain amount of range, and it comes with mounting screws, plastic anchors…,” said Frank Suster with City Mill. “Usually when you install a smoke detector it should be as closest possible to the center of the room.”

There’s also dual sensor detectors that detect smoke and flames and detectors that you can put in your kitchen an turn off when you’re cooking.

Suster recommends a smoke detector that uses both electrical and back-up battery power, so even if one power source fails, it will always be working.

“The other advantage of the electrical ones is you could hook up up to five in a row. So, let’s say you have five detectors in your home, all five would go off at the same time,” said Suster.

HFD recommends installing them in bedrooms or hallways, and they say there should be at least one on every floor.

“A lot of people think that if there’s a fire, I’m going to be able to see it. I’ll smell it. I’ll be able to react to it, and most of the time that’s true,” said Capt. Scot Seguirant with the Honolulu Fire Department. “But what the smoke alarm does is it allows you that quicker time to be notified earlier, so that you can hopefully get out safely before it develops.”

“The sooner you can get that smoke to hit the smoke alarm to get the alert sound, something’s not right, that’s going to give you a lot faster time to get out,” said Seguirant.

For those who already own detectors, Suster recommends checking them monthly to make sure they work. If they are older than 10 years, he says buy a new one.

“You see smoke detectors, there’s radiation in them and the radiation is what detects the smoke in the fire, but the radiation has a shelf life. So after about 10 years, your smoke detector, you can push the button and it goes off, but it will not detect smoke,” said Suster.

He also recommends getting a “B grade” fire extinguisher that is made to put out fires started by grease and oils.

“Of course in the kitchen area, got to have a fire extinguisher because when an alarm goes off, if it’s not a big fire you can put it out yourself,” said Suster. 

HFD also recommends making sure that your family has an escape plan and a designated meeting place in case of a fire.

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