Recent Media Stories Share Only Part of the Story on Smoke Alarms
On Sunday, March 24, the national newsmagazine TV show, Dateline, is scheduled to air two segments about smoke alarms. Here is a teaser of what will be aired.
The first segment originally aired on TODAY in October and there were many concerns within the fire service about the information given in that report. The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) issued a release urging its members to educate themselves on the issue, and criticizing TODAY for dispelling “half-information.” CPSC and the major manufactures also all provided statements recommending for optimal protection, families should use both types of technology in their home. We are told that Dateline’s re-airing of this piece will re-emphasize how ionization technology works well in most fires and photoelectric tends to work faster in slow, smoky fires. Yet we want to make sure that any partial information is backed up with facts. The upcoming segment focuses on photoelectric smoke alarms, and includes an interview with a woman who lost family members in a fire, a demonstration with Don Russell from Texas A&M Universityand an interview with the CPSC.
The second segment will focus on smoke alarm research conducted at National Children’s Hospital in Ohio regarding the effectiveness of parent-recorded voice warnings vs tonal warnings in waking children. As many of you know there are alarms with this function already available.
Some points to keep in mind and to share if asked as a burn care expert :
– Nearly every national fire expert, recommends having both types of smoke alarm in a home for optimal protection. Regardless of technology, smoke alarms must pass the same tests to receive UL-listing, and studies show that both types provide adequate warning for egress.
– Having a working smoke alarm does not guarantee that you will survive a fire – it increases your likelihood by 50%. There are still many unknowns, which is why it’s so important that families install smoke alarms throughout the home, replace batteries every year and alarms every 10 years, and have an escape plan so they know what to do when an alarm sounds.
– Regardless of technology, homes that do not have enough alarms are still under-protected. Recent surveys show that three out of four homeowners don’t know where to place smoke alarms. The NFPA recommends placing smoke alarms on each floor and inside and outside of sleeping areas. IAFC along with Kidde, created a toolkit to help remind fire departments and the community about the proper locations for alarms. It is available at www.smartalarmchoices.org
– We asked Kidde a leading manufacturer of residential fire safety products about the technology, Kidde states they review industry data, trends and scientific studies in order to advance technology and create solutions to further protect people and property from fire and related hazards. Recent examples include:
- Launching a combination smoke/CO alarm with voice notification nearly ten years ago, based on research showing that voice may be more effective at waking children (the teaser report states they are not available yet)
- Launching a wireless smoke alarm in 2005 to help bring the benefits of interconnection to nearly 100M homes, based on research showing that average time to escape a home has dropped from 17 minutes to three minutes
- Launching a line of sealed-in battery smoke and CO alarms in 2012/2013 to help address the issue of battery removal and fire deaths; nearly 2/3 of all fire deaths occur in homes without alarms or with no working alarms, mainly due to dead or missing batteries. This product line also eliminates homeowners’ top fire safety annoyance – low battery chirps – and was designed with location-based features to make it easier to choose the right alarm for the right location.
Dateline airs at 7pm ET and has an average audience of 6 million viewers. It is critical that the consumers understand the facts about smoke alarms and it is also an opportunity for us to further educate the public on the topic of prevention, including those building new homes to add fire sprinklers to increase the chances of surviving a fire from 50% to 80%.
Thank you for your effort in sharing this important information with your family and friends to prevent further burn injuries and deaths.