Know Your Smoke Alarms
There are two types of smoke detectors normally being used in our homes today. Ionization, which recognizes and alerts better on flaming type fire. Photoelectric, which is better at recognizing and alerting on floor, smoldering type fires. The most popular type in use today is the ionization type. It is the least expensive on the market, is readily available, and is purchased by the majority of consumers. The ionization type detector is still effective in warning against fires, however, studies by National Institute of Standards and Technology, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) have concluded there could be serious concern for public safety in certain types of fire.
The above stated agencies have concluded that die to the changes in the furnishings in our homes, from the more natural fibers and fabrics (cotton, wool, etc). To man made products (poly foam, poly styrene, poly urethane, etc), it has dramatically dropped the tenable time for escape after the inception of a fire. In Indiana Dunes Tests in the mid 90's, time to escape was figured at approximately 17 minutes. In the 2004 tests, the time period with regard to flaming fires was dropped to three minutes. Today, fires are reading untenable (unsurvivable) time periods, which leaves little time for occupants to escape.
Approximately 75% of fires in home occupancies are considered slow smoldering type fires. The ionization type detectors are placing occupants in very narrow time period escape, and not be overcome by heat, smoke and gases.
We should be educating ourselves about the need to install at least an additional photo electric detector next to our ionization type detector, or replace it with a dual smoke alarm, a unit having both ionization and photo electric detectors in the same unit.