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.

Related Articles


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 December 22, 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 December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) US President Barack Obama says that construction of the Keystone pipeline would have 'very little impact' on US gas prices and believes there are 'more direct ways' to create construction jobs. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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