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Meet The Editor

Darrell Boyd - Owner of Mister Sparky in Olympia, WA








Darrell Boyd - Owner of Mister Sparky of WA.

Darrell is a Master Electrician license holder here in WA State and has been in the electrical field for over 25 years. He is extremely passionate about the electrical field and serving the local community. Educating people through this blog is just one of the ways he enjoys reaching out and sharing his knowledge. Electrical Safety in the home and making sure each home Mister Sparky enters is safer then when they got there is truly a belief and standard by which he leads Mister Sparky. Born in Tacoma, WA and raised in Olympia He loves the Greater Puget Sound Area and all it offers. Beyond electrical and Mister Sparky Darrell is also a devoted husband and father of 2 amazing children Brett & Kaitlyn. When there is a spare minute you may find him watching and following his favorite sports teams The Seattle Mariners & The Seattle Seahawks or quite possibly on a quiet river fishing for trout and enjoying this great state. If you have a question or topic you would like to have Darrell write about please feel to reach out to him or contact him anytime at




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Smoke Detectors: How many do I need & why?

Smoke Detector resized 600We all know we are supposed to have smoke detectors in our homes but do you know how many and why? Most local municipalities these days want to see a smoke detector in every bedroom, hallway, vaulted ceiling, and floor level. Think about it.... if you just had one smoke detector in your home and it was at the far end of the house away from your bedrooms would you hear it? Would you hear it if it was down the hallway and you had all the bedroom doors shut? If you have children or elderly parents at home would they hear it? Statistics say probably not and especially our kids. The ability to hear and then respond to the alarm is critical. 

My Own personal Experience:

Typically you have less than 3 minutes to get out of your home in the event of a fire before it gets to a serious flash point and you cant get out. Having seen this with my own eyes I can tell you it gets ugly very quickly and the smoke becomes unbearable and unbreathable. I watched a fire start on a stove hit the back wall, then cabinets, then to the ceiling and just gain momentum in nothing flat. You barely have time to react before it gets out of control. I could not put it out and in seconds the smoke became toxic, I had to walk out knowing the building was probably gone. Luckily for us someone grabbed a fire extinguisher next door and ran over to us and saved the day and our business. Can I tell you though... it was seconds from being completely lost! I was absolutely amazed and blown away at how little time you have to react and how good your decision making better be. More importantly what probably saved me and my wife from being trapped was a faint beep from a security control panel that made me get up from my desk in the back office of our building. As I walked down the hallway I could see smoke billowing out of the break room and thats when I saw a fire go from an initial small problem to a serious disaster in seconds. Had I not heard that we would have definitely lost the building and my wife and I would have had to knock out windows to leap outside from our offices. A faint beep saved a building and (3) businesses that were in it. How's your home? Why the personal story? To illustrate why you need early detection and why your detection needs to be as loud as possible. THOSE TWO THINGS ARE EVERYTHING! It truly made me realize in a home at night while sleeping you are at a major disadvantage.

What should you do?

  1. Have a smoke detector in every bedroom, hallway, vaulted ceiling, and every floor level.
  2. Not only should you have them in all the above locations make sure they are inter-connected so that if one goes off they all go off. That way if a fire starts on the bottom floor or far end of the house the entire house gets an alarm and gives you that valuable time to escape or put the fire out. I wouldn't be afraid to place smoke detectors in other areas of my home as well like the garage. Again, its all about getting as early a warning as possible. Do you really want to wait for it to reach the hallway before your notified? What if you are in your bedroom with the door shut and a fire starts in your room? Do you want it to build up to the point it has to reach the hallway to set off the alarm? 
  3. Think about installing a smoke detector that has the ability for you to record your own voice recording on it. Instead of just a loud beep you could have the alarm in your own voice say "Fire, Fire, Johnny get up" Its been said that a parents voice may wake a child before a very loud beep.  
  4. If you currently have smoke detectors make sure you inspect them and test them. describe the imageMost smoke detectors expire after 10 years and must be replaced. If you have just one smoke detector in your hallway have additional smoke detectors added to create the proper system as mentioned above. Again, make sure that they are all interconnected though so one goes off they all go off.
  5. Finally, don't forget about CO (carbon monoxide) Detectors and have one installed on each floor as well. You can have a smoke/CO combination detector installed at each floor level and get a 2 for 1.
Smoke detectors can and do save lives if you allow them. Is your home prepared and will your home give you the early warning system and the ability to hear the alarm when it counts?
Feel free to contact Mister Sparky if we can help get your home prepared and don't forget to subscribe to our blog for important electrical safety tips and household information!




My personal experience about the smoke detector, smoke detector when chirp. The whole family is frantic, if our house would be burn? We soon ran out, but after we waited a long time there was no sign of smoke, we were all very confused, why the smoke detector goes off. And in the end I went back into the house, no smoke in our house. After the check was a tool that reads its own smoke detector, I asks to an expert about smoke detectors, it turns out a smoke detector battery was exhausted.
Posted @ Tuesday, October 11, 2011 1:18 AM by Armando
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Great article! Whether it is a kitchen or any place use safe products and follow above tips and should educate other members of our family.
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