Opinion: The case for photoelectric smoke alarms

By Jeffrey S. Mailman*

On October 8-9, 1871, a massive fire in Chicago claimed the lives of more than 250 individuals. In order to prevent such tragedies from reoccurring, the anniversary week of this Great Chicago Fire has been designated as Fire Prevention Week and fire departments across the country make a concentrated effort to inform the public about the importance of having operable smoke alarms.

However, the message to simply have a working smoke alarm in your home is an inadequate message. You need to have the right type of alarm, namely, a photoelectric smoke alarm. Here’s why. The vast majority of civilian fire fatalities are caused by smoke inhalation, not from burns.

Photoelectric smoke alarms are designed to detect the smoke that causes approximately 50 to 80 New Yorkers to die from smoke inhalation each year.

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