Despite seasonal clues like the the blizzard that just hit the Mid-Atlantic states and the fact that it was the Super Bowl only last night, I keep forgetting that it’s winter. But then again, I’m in South Florida, and we have more or less constant heat and sunshine no matter what time of year it is. But temperatures took a bit of a dive this past weekend, as I schlepped armloads of Target bags into the house late yesterday afternoon, my nostrils perked up at the scent of fireplace wafting on the breeze. Now that’s a rare treat, and one that reminded me that people in many other places are cozied up to fireplaces and space heaters to stay warm. And if there’s any time of year to be concerned about fire safety, this would be it.
So, what shape are your smoke alarms in? Hopefully you’ve been testing them monthly, and replacing their batteries once a year. A gentle annual vacuuming is always a good idea, too. But if it’s time to actually replace your smoke detectors, allow me to make a suggestion. Go with a combination model, like the Ionization/Photelectric Smoke Alarm from Kidde. Why the mix of technology? Two words: complete protection.
If you’ve ever shopped around for household smoke detectors, you probably noticed that the alarms were labeled either ionization or photoelectric. These two technologies were designed to recognize two different types of fires. Ionization smoke alarms detect the presence of smoke by ionizing the nitrogen and oxygen atoms in air, and are best for warning against quick-flaring fires that pop up fast without producing much smoke. On the other hand, photoelectric smoke alarms are optical, and use LEDs and photosensors to detect smoke-induced light obstruction. Photoelectric alarms are best at detecting slow-burning fires that produce large amounts of smoke.
Now, don’t get me wrong – it’s great to have options. But what if you don’t choose the right one? The beautiful thing about combination smoke alarms is that with dual technology, they’re able to handle just about any smoke situation that comes their way. You’re warned no matter what. No second-guessing, no trial and error – when it comes to fire and smoke inhalation, you never want to learn the hard way.