Smoke alarms save lives. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the number of U.S. home fire deaths has been cut by about half since the mid-1970’s, when smoke alarms first became widely available.
A fire’s very nature makes it unpredictable. Because no one can know when a fire will occur or what type of fire they will have in their home, virtually every recognized fire authority and safety expert – including NFPA, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) – recommend having both photoelectric and ionization alarms for optimal protection against flaming and smoldering fires. Kidde supports and states this recommendation on its packaging, website and in its owner's manuals.
Kidde offers photoelectric and ionization smoke alarms as well as a dual-sensor alarm that combines both technologies in one unit. All three can be found at home improvement stores and other retailers nationwide, or online. In addition, every Kidde smoke alarm – regardless of technology - must pass identical tests in order to meet the current smoke alarm performance standard, UL 217.
Knowing the difference between alarm technologies can help consumers make an educated decision on alarm placement. However, regardless of technology, a home that does not have enough working smoke alarms is still underprotected. It is vital that families have working smoke alarms on each floor, outside of sleeping areas and inside each bedroom, and replace alarms every 10 years. Families must also practice an escape plan, so they know what to do when the alarm sounds.