Over half of all smoke alarms FAIL!

Almost 40 years of research has shown that the most popular smoke alarm which is in 90% of homes in America is failing at an alarming rate.

These ionization smoke alarms are alerting tens of minutes slower than the other type, photoelectric smoke alarms, in the deadly smoldering stage of a fire. They are also more prone to nuisance false alarms from ordinary cooking and steam from showers.

Photoelectric smoke alarms sound tens of minutes faster than ionization smoke alarms during smoldering stage fires with significantly fewer false alarms. Furthermore, their performance in flaming stage fires is comparable to ionization alarms, making the photoelectric alarm the best choice.

For your safety and the safety of your entire family, The North Eastern Ohio Fire Prevention Association and firefighters across the state of Ohio urge you to check what type of smoke alarms you have in your home.

It's easy! Just check the front or back of the alarm for the word “Photoelectric” or the letter “P” or the word “Ionization” or the letter “I”. Any indication that your smoke alarm contains radioactive material also indicates that it is an ionization alarm. And while you're checking, look for the date of manufacture on your alarm. Smoke alarms expire 10 years after the date of manufacture and need to be replaced anyway.


If you have ionization smoke alarms, change them out as soon as possible! Photoelectric alarms are sold in most major hardware stores. Just look for the word photoelectric or the letter “P” on the packaging.

Oh, and what about those dual-sensor alarms that contain both photoelectric and ionization sensors? They cost twice twice as much and still generate all those nuisance false alarms!

Check out the rest out this website for all the details and be safe!

*The banner text refers to two of the many studies showing the failures of ionization smoke alarms in smoldering fires and their propensity for nuisance false alarms:

  • Texas A&M Study 1995: (Indicates a 55% failure rate of ionization smoke alarms and smoldering fires)
  • NFPA’s  “False Alarms and Unwanted Activations” from: “U.S. Experience With Smoke Alarms And Other Fire Detection/Alarm Equipment” by Marty Ahrens, Fire Analysis & Research Division. NFPA. November 2004: (Indicates 97% of nuisance alarms came from ionization-type devices)