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Colerain Township & Fire Department Letters
Colerain Township, Hamilton County, Ohio - 2 of 4

Firefighters Urge Buying New

Photoelectric Smoke Detectors

"The ionization detectors are failing

people . . . They’re costing lives."

OLERAIN TWP., OH. – Add another task to add to your list of things to do this weekend. Instead of just changing the batteries in your smoke detectors, change the smoke detectors themselves.

Colerain Township Fire Captain Dairan Edwards recommends photoelectric models instead of the ionization variety. It’s a major departure from the traditional fire service thinking.

"The ionization detectors are failing people," Edwards said. "They’re costing lives."

Captain Edwards cited research showing that photoelectric smoke detectors are most effective at alerting people to smoldering fires – the types of fires that claim the most lives – especially when people are asleep in their homes.

Last update: 10/30/2009  7:57 pm

Extracted from the Internet, 20 Jan, 2010  Here > > >

Colerain Fire Department

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"Ionization detectors go off eight to 10 seconds faster in a flaming fire," he stated. "However, when it’s a smoldering fire, the photoelectric can go off 15 to 39 minutes quicker than an ionization detector."

Just two weeks ago that Colerain Township firefighters responded to a blaze that supported Captain Edwards’ claim.

It was 6:40 a.m. when a homeowner on Firshade Drive awoke to the sound of his barking dog. Quickly smelling smoke, he alerted everyone in the house, then ran to the kitchen where he thought the fire might be. It wasn’t there.

Instead, it was in the basement. The day before he’d been welding pieces together in a car in the garage. Sparks flew into fabric for the seats and smoldered for at least 12 hours before smoke began filling the house.

"The startling fact is the dog had to notify the homeowners, instead of the smoke detectors," said Colerain Township Fire Inspector Jim Bowman.

That’s right. The house was equipped with ionization smoke detectors, but they didn’t begin sounding an alarm until between nine and 12 minutes after the homeowner knew the house was on fire.

"The family was very lucky," added Bowman.

Bowman wishes the family had installed photoelectric smoke detectors in the house.

"They would have had more time to react – more time to get the people out of the structure," he said.

"Maybe even more time to act to put out this fire, so there’s less damage to their home," he added.

Another reason Bowman backs the photoelectric detectors is the fact that they don’t generate as many false alarms as the ionization variety.

That’s a main reason that people disconnect those types or take out the battery. Doing that increases the chances of injury or death.

Captain Edwards says smoke detectors should be changed every five to 10 years as a matter of course.

He’s hoping families give themselves a Halloween gift of new smoke detectors for more peace of mind when sleeping an extra hour in the changeover to Daylight Saving Time Saturday night.

In Colerain Township, the Wal-Mart Supercenter is taking $5.00 off the price of photoelectric smoke detectors this weekend.

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