Residential fire detection systems, smoke alarms, must notify occupants of a threatening fire in time to escape through a normal exit. NFPA 72, the national residential smoke alarm code. If a smoke alarm fails to notify occupants of a threatening fire in time to escape, the smoke alarm manufacturer is responsible for all resulting harms and losses including just compensation to burn victims and their families. Learn how you can recover compensation with an experienced St. Louis burn injury attorney.
Defective Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms are an essential element to residential fire safety because most dangerous fires occur at night when occupants are asleep. Smoke alarms are necessary to sense smoke, sound an alarm, and do it while escape is still possible. Tragically, 90% of smoke alarms in place in American homes today cannot meet the minimum safety requirement of sensing smoke and warning occupants of a threatening fire in time to escape. Hundreds of millions of people are at risk of death or serious injury every time they go to sleep. Amazingly, smoke alarm manufacturers have known about this danger for over 40 years. More Amazing is the fact that current technology exists which will eliminate this needless danger.
Ionization Smoke Alarms
Two basic technologies are utilized by smoke alarms to sense smoke: ionization and photoelectric. Almost every smoke alarm sold in the United States utilizes ionization technology. All ionization smoke alarms have a common inherent defect: they are extremely inefficient in detecting visible smoke particles. Yes, a smoke alarm that doesn’t detect smoke! Ionization alarms detect tiny invisible particles of combustion – those which are produced by a full flaming fire. The danger is that most deadly fires which start under the dark of night when families are asleep begin as smoky fires which may produce large quantities of toxic poisonous gases before they transition into a full flaming fire. As a result, by the time an ionization smoke alarm senses smoke and goes into alarm, the family may already be dead and if not, escape is impossible.
Several states have banned ionization smoke alarms as stand alone smoke detection systems. Many private organizations, including The International Association of Fire Fighters, have published position papers calling for the end of ionization alarms as single station smoke detectors. If you have been injured because an ionized smoke detector failed to sound, you need to hire a burn injury lawyer.
Photoelectric Smoke Alarms
Photoelectric smoke alarms utilize a deflected light beam to detect smoke. Photoelectric alarms detect or ‘see’ visible smoke particles often times tens of minutes or as much as an hour before ionization alarms. Yet, photoelectric smoke alarms make up less than 10% of smoke alarms manufactured and sold in the US.
The corporations that sell ionization smoke alarms have known for the past 40 years that ionization smoke alarms will not sense smoke in most deadly fires until it is too late. They know this because of international full-scale burn tests using real homes where ionization alarms failed to alarm, sometimes at all; because of actual home fires where witnesses reported houses full of smoke with no alarm sounding; because of investigative television news reports demonstrating small-scale tests where photoelectric alarms respond to smoke in seconds while ionization alarms respond in tens of minutes; and they know because of the hundred upon hundreds of written consumer complaints of ionization alarms failing to sound in real world fires.
Smoke Alarm Attorney
If you or someone you know experienced an injury caused by a fire where a smoke detector failed to give a warning in time to escape, contact a St. Louis personal injury lawyer with experience in defective smoke alarm cases. We will provide a free consultation so contact us at (314) 898-3078.