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Your Smoke Detector Has a Mind-Blowing Secret Feature

Let the fire department attend to more pressing matters than your cooking.

Fire safety lessons don't begin and end with the old Stop, Drop, and Roll. While smoke detectors are effective tools for helping people escape fires unscathed, their more annoying attributes are keeping people from using them. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 60 percent of the deaths associated with home fires occurred because there were no smoke alarms, or no working alarms, in the home when a fire broke out. So, why are we letting these potentially life-saving devices go unused? The biggest reason cited for having disconnected alarms is the nuisance alarms that beep every time someone burns something on the stove.

Luckily, you don't have to choose between a safe home and suffering through the incessant beeping of your smoke detector every time a meal gets overcooked. In fact, your smoke detector has a secret feature expressly for this situation. Most modern smoke detectors offer a HUSH or standby mode, which will stop the alarm from sounding. In most alarm models, you can activate HUSH mode by pressing the test button on your alarm's front cover. Your alarm will be silenced for eight minutes as you allow the smoke to dissipate.

Smoke detector Hush mode

Most alarms' LED lights will blink more rapidly when in HUSH mode to let you know it's been activated. The alarm will then return to blinking once every 30 seconds or so after the eight minutes is up. Certain smoke alarms will even enable HUSH mode for up to 13 hours to silence low battery alerts.

When you've had time to run to the store for new batteries, pop them in as soon as possible, and swap them out every six months. 
To make your space even safer, make sure you've got one smoke detector in every bedroom and at least one on every floor of your home, as per NFPA recommendations. And when you're ready to ramp up safety throughout your house, start by getting to know The 50 Deadliest Items in Your Home!

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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