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Photoelectric vs. Ionization Smoke Alarms


Collection of Residential Smoke Alarm Research

This report was scanned from hardcopy. 

Senator John Kerry Letter to CPSC, June 2008

"It is my understanding that the CPSC expressed serious concerns regarding ionization detectors as early as 1995."

"Yet, the CPSC still has not acted to remove the alarms from the market, nor has the CPSC warned the consumers as to the potential drawbacks of ionized detectors."

The National Institute for Standards and Testing (NIST) has found that on average, a photoelectric detector is 30 minutes faster in detecting smoldering fires than an ionized detector.  The highest percentage of deaths caused by smoldering fires occurs while people are sleeping, when the operation of a smoke detector is critical..... Four years ago NIST reached the conclusion that ionization detectors sometimes fail in smoldering fires, even when visibility is significantly degraded by smoke."

"Several studies show that the ionization smoke detector is many times more likely to be disabled than photoelectric detectors."

"The ionization smoke alarms susceptibility to nuisance alarms (leading to disablement) and inadequate response to smoldering fires could be responsible for hundreds of needless deaths each year."

See Page 88 of PDF






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