The National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, reports that nearly two-thirds of fire deaths in the United States are a result of the home having no smoke alarms or smoke alarms with dead batteries.

Smoke alarms are critical warning systems that every home and business needs in order to prevent injury and to minimize the destruction of a fire.  The NFPA recommends you change the batteries on your alarms at least once each year and to regularly test smoke alarms to ensure they are working.

One other recommendation is to change out smoke alarms every 10 years.  Now days, most manufacturers of smoke alarms print the date issued on the back.  For those that don’t have a date, it is best to assume they are older than 10 years.  If you’ve moved into a home, chances are the units are older and need to be replaced.  If you’ve lived in your home for 10 years and have never replaced the alarms, head to the nearest store and cross this task off your list.

Alarms are easy to replace, especially if you research the brand you are replacing.  Most likely, you can save yourself the hassle of removing the old base and find a comparable new alarm that just pops right into the old casing.  Your local home store carries a variety of brands or you can shop online for easy delivery options.

When shopping for a smoke alarm, there are generally three types to choose from: photoelectric, ionization, and a combination of both.  Let’s take a look at the differences:

Photoelectric:  These alarms use a photoelectric sensor and beam of light to activate.  Smoke passes through the chamber, crossing the beam of light.  The smoke particles make the light beam scatter and thus, the alarm is activated.  The photoelectric smoke alarm is best for slow burning fires.  Fires that smolder such as attic fires or interior wall fires will activate these alarms.

Ionization:  These alarms house a minute quantity of material that is radioactive.  The radiation is set between two electrodes that create a current.  When the current is disrupted by smoke particles, the alarm responds to the interruption.  Ionization alarms are best for hot, raging fires that are fueled by accelerants like gasoline, grease, and highly combustible material.

If you’ve noticed, each alarm is different.  The problem arises in that you have no idea what type of fire you will have.  This is why the combination alarms are best.  The Ionization/Photoelectric alarms are designed to alert you to any kind of fire, slow or fast burning.  Though not expensive, most homeowners don’t give their smoke alarms much thought.  If anything, purchase both photoelectric and ionization alarms to place throughout your home.

Smoke alarms are designed to act as your early warning alert so you and your family can get to safety.  Make sure your alarms are up to date and supplied with working batteries.  If you do experience a fire, let our Fire Damage Restoration team at Restore Pro help you mitigate the damage to your home.  We’ll help you through the cleanup process and get your home back to its original condition quickly.

Call us at 1-800-847-0114 or visit our Facebook page to learn more about our Fire Damage Restoration services at