Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Not All Smoke Alarms Created Equal

Date:
April 14, 2008
Source:
Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies
Summary:
If you thought all smoke alarms were equally effective, think again. Photoelectric smoke alarms are much more likely to remain functioning after installation than are ionization alarms. But ionization alarms are the most common type found in US households.

If you thought all smoke alarms were equally effective, think again. According to a recent study by researchers from the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC) and the University of Washington in Seattle, photoelectric smoke alarms are much more likely to remain functioning after installation than are ionization alarms. Ionization alarms are the most common type found in U.S. households.

The study, which looked at more than 750 households in Washington State, found that nine months after a smoke alarm was installed, 20% of the ionized alarms did not function, compared to just 5% of the photoelectric alarms. Researchers checked the same alarms six months later and found similar results. The most common cause of a non-functioning alarm was the removal or disconnection of the battery.

Researchers found that ionization detectors were more prone to nuisance alarms, often caused by cooking. Nuisance alarms are the most cited reason by residents for removing or disconnecting an alarm battery. “Many fires in the house start in or around the kitchen, so we know that it is critical to have functioning smoke alarms on the first level, adjacent to the kitchen,” said Dr. Beth Mueller, the study principal investigator and epidemiologist at the HIPRC. “Clearly, photoelectric detectors performed much better in this part of the house.”

Alarms sold for home use in the U.S. are ionization, photoelectric, or combination designs. Photoelectric and ionization alarms operate differently. While both detect particles from combustion, photoelectric alarms use optical sensors and are more sensitive to slow, smoldering conditions. Ionization alarms are responsive to flames by detecting particles from rapid combustion.

“The study results are significant,” said Dr. David Grossman, a pediatrician and study co-investigator who is now medical director for preventive care at Group Health in Seattle. “Though the U.S. has made great strides in getting these life-saving smoke alarms in people’s homes, we still have a long way to go to make sure that they remain operational. Photoelectric alarms may be a key answer to providing longer term protection.”

The study appears in the April issue of the international journal Injury Prevention. Research was funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and the King County Fire Chiefs’ Association. Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center is affiliated with the University of Washington, and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. It is one of the nation’s leading centers dedicated to injury prevention and trauma research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies. "Not All Smoke Alarms Created Equal." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080411101947.htm>.
Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies. (2008, April 14). Not All Smoke Alarms Created Equal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080411101947.htm
Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies. "Not All Smoke Alarms Created Equal." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080411101947.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins