According to a study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an estimated 890 lives could be saved each year in the United States if all homes had working smoke alarms.
Types of smoke alarms
Smoke alarms can be found with a variety of features and added benefits to help maximize home safety, however it is important to know there are two main types of smoke alarms. They are differentiated by the smoke sensing technology they are constructed with. These technologies are called ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors and differ by the way they react to a fire occurrence:
Ionization technology smoke alarms are generally more sensitive than photoelectric technology smoke alarms at sensing small particles, which tend to be produced in greater amounts by hot, flaming fires, that are consuming combustible materials rapidly and may spread quickly. Sources of these fires may include paper burning in a wastebasket, or a grease fire in the kitchen.
Photoelectric technology is generally more sensitive than ionization smoke detector technology at sensing large smoke particles, which tend to be produced in greater amounts by smoldering fires, which may smolder for hours before bursting into flame. Sources of these fires may include cigarettes burning in couches or bedding.
Interconnected smoke alarms are safer than standalone smoke alarms, because they let you know about an emergency sooner. Even if you’re in the house, you may not be close to the area where the fire started. If you’re in the basement, you may not hear an alarm in the bedroom. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the majority of fatalities from US home fires were located in a different room than where the fire started.