CLEVELAND - As the saying goes, "Where there's smoke, there's fire." Smoke detectors can mean the difference between life and death. They're pretty inexpensive but you could be making a fatal mistake if you don't buy the right one for your home.
So, do you know what type of smoke alarms you have in your house? It makes a difference, because there are two basic types of residential smoke alarms: ionization and photoelectric.
Janet Bumbarger of Euclid didn't know.
"Nobody ever thinks their house is going to catch on fire," Bumbarger told Consumer Advocate Jenn Strathman.
The vast majority of smoke alarms in homes today are the ionization type, but fire safety officials are beginning to question if they are the most valid detection method.
One of the major problems with ionization smoke alarms is that they give off too many false alarms, mostly from cooking and showers. The other problem with ionization smoke alarms is that they take a long time to respond to a smoldering fire. They're much slower than photoelectric alarms.
"I think it's probably pretty important to know what's going to cause your smoke detector to go off or not," Bumbarger agreed.
Statistics from around the country show many fatal home fires involve a significant smoldering period. This is the major reason that there is such a push to replace ionization smoke alarms with photoelectric smoke alarms.
Some cities across the United States are no longer allowing ionization smoke detectors as the only type of residential smoke alarms. A few of those communities are right here in northeast Ohio.
Coming up tonight on NewsChannel5 at 11, we'll take a closer look at these two types of smoke detectors, talk to family members who've lost loved ones because too much time lapsed before the alarm sounded and what your community is doing to regulate the types of smoke detectors in residential properties.