Where to Place Them Throughout Your Home
“Smoke detectors are a must in all homes, and carbon monoxide detectors are needed for any home with fuel-burning appliances such as a furnace, water heater, range, cooktop, or grill. Even those living in all-electric homes should install carbon monoxide detectors, because CO can seep into the house from an attached garage or if a backup generator is used too close to your living quarters during a power outage.
You’ll need smoke detectors that detect flaming and smoldering fires for each bedroom, with at least one detector installed on each floor, including in a finished attic and in the basement. You should also have a carbon monoxide detector on each living level, in the basement, and near (not inside) an attached garage.
Use the illustration below as a guide to where you need detectors and tally up the number of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors you need to buy. Keep in mind that your home might need more or fewer detectors depending on its size and number of rooms.”
Missing Batteries, Outdated Alarms Put U.S. Families at Risk.
An average of 3,000 Americans die in fires each year
Nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or working smoke alarms, mainly due to missing or dead batteries. (NFPA)
A recent Kidde survey revealed that 58% of Americans don’t know that batteries should be changed every six months; 61% have left their alarms without a working battery.
Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. (NFPA)
A recent Kidde survey found one out of four older U.S. homes need updated fire safety equipment; that equals 17 million homes with outdated smoke alarms.
Growing Trend Towards Smoke Alarms with Sealed, 10-year Batteries
Cities and states have begun requiring the use of sealed, 10-year battery smoke alarms because the technology:
Offers hassle-free protection for a decade (the life of the alarm)
Eliminates low battery chirps and battery replacement
Prohibits unauthorized tampering or battery removal
Provides an alert after 10 years to replace the alarm
Saves property owners up to $40 in battery costs over the life of each alarm
National fire industry organizations that support this technology include: the National Association of State Fire Marshals; Smoke Alarm Technology State Task Forces in Maryland, Ohio and California; Centers for Disease Control; and FEMA through its Assistance to Firefighter (AFG) grants.
The following states have enacted 10-year legislation. Check the below Laws & Legislation Map for current information on your state.
Ionization and Photoelectric Sensing Technologies
Smoke alarms save lives. 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 the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (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 of which meet the current UL standard for smoke alarms and can be purchased nationwide at retailers or online.
Read Kidde’s Statement
Read NFPA Statement
Read the IAFC’s Press Release on a Recent News Report and Alarm Technology
WHAT FIRE EXPERTS ARE SAYING
United States Fire Administration:
Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different yet potentially fatal fires, and because homeowners cannot predict what type of fire might start in a home, the USFA recommends the installation of both ionization and photoelectric or dual sensor alarms. (usfa.dhs.gov, May 2008)
The International Association of Fire Chiefs:
Since it cannot be predicted what type of fire will start in a home, it is important that both smoldering and flaming fires are detected as quickly as possible. The best protection is to have both types of smoke alarms installed, or install dual sensing technology smoke alarms that incorporate both ionization/photoelectric sensors. (IAFC “Smoke Alarms – Ionization and Photoelectric Technology” Position Paper, April 2008)
National Fire Protection Association:
For best protection, it is recommended both (ionization and photoelectric) technologies be used in homes. In addition to individual ionization and photoelectric alarms, combination alarms that include both technologies in a single device are available.
National Association of State Fire Marshals:
As you know, because of the differences in how the different smoke alarm sensing technologies react to different types of fires, NASFM’s Smoke Alarms Guidance Document recommends that homes be protected by both ionization and photoelectric sensor technology, either as separate smoke alarm units both installed in a residence, or as dual sensor units. NASFM’s guidance on smoke alarms can be found on the NASFM website at http://www.firemarshals.org/programs/fireprotectiontechnologies.html
National Institute of Standards and Technology:
Smoke alarms of either the ionization type or the photoelectric type consistently provided time for occupants to escape from most residential fires.… Consistent with prior findings, ionization type alarms provided somewhat better response to flaming fires than photoelectric alarms, and photoelectric alarms provided (often) considerably faster response to smoldering fires than ionization type alarms…. Smoke alarms of either type installed on every level generally provided positive escape times for different fire types and locations. (Performance of Home Smoke Alarms: Analysis of the Response of Several Available Technologies in Residential Fire Settings, NIST, February 2008 Revision)
Consumer Product Safety Commission:
Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different yet potentially fatal fires, and because homeowners cannot predict what type of fire might start in a home, CPSC staff recommends consumers install both ionization and photoelectric type smoke alarms in their home (www.cpsc.gov, July 2016)
Underwriters Laboratories (UL):
UL recommends that utilization of both photoelectric and ionization technologies optimize detection and permit the public the best available escape time in residential fire situations. (www.ul.com)
Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports):
Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, recommends you install smoke alarms with two different types of sensors: Ionization sensors ($10 and up) are better at detecting fast, flaming fires. Photoelectric sensors ($15 and up) are better at detecting smoldering fires. Your best bet is to buy dual-sensor alarms ($25 and up), which contain both detector types. (www.consumerreports.org, March 2007)
Home Safety Council:
For the best detection and notification protection, install both ionization- and photoelectric-type smoke alarms. (www.homesafetycouncil.org)
Kidde’s Statement on Smoke Alarm Technology
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. Families must also practice an escape plan, so they know what to do when the alarm sounds.