Dual-Sensor Smoke Alarms: From the Fire Experts

Dual-Sensor Smoke Alarms: From the Fire Experts

Not all smoke alarms are created equal. Different types of alarm are better at detecting different types of fires. This is why a dual sensor alarm is often the safest option for homes and families.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a non-regulatory federal agency, photoelectric sensors responded to smoldering fires 30 minutes faster than ionization sensors, on average. Likewise, the ionization detectors sensed flash fires 50 seconds faster, on average, than photoelectric detectors. For maximum protection, smoke alarm manufacturers and fire experts alike agree that dual sensors offer the most comprehensive detection.

Approximately 90% of U.S. homes are serviced by devices that only use ionization sensors. While ionization detectors are the most efficient at sensing flash fires, they are less useful in more slowly burning fires, which expose occupants to hazards like smoke and toxic fumes. The longer it takes for an alarm to sound, the greater the likelihood of injury to those in the building.

To see what kind of device you currently have, look for labeling on its front and back. If you see a “P,” then you have a photoelectric detector. If your device says “radiation” or has an “I” on the back, then your home uses an ionization sensing smoke alarm. Both “P” and “I” together indicate a dual sensor device.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and four leading fire safety groups (National Association of State Fire Marshals,National Fire Protection Association, U.S. Fire Administration, and International Association of Fire Chiefs) all recommend using both types of sensors in order to achieve maximum protection.

When it comes to home and family, isn’t “maximum protection” the only real choice?