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Statements from smoke detector companies

These statements to Dateline NBC from First Alert and Kidde is part of the Dateline report on smoke detectors from Sunday, March 24th, at 7pm/6c.


Statement from First Alert on part 1 of Dateline NBC's report on smoke detectors 

September 14, 2012

Fire experts from the National Fire Protection Association, the National Institute of Standards, Underwriters Laboratories, and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission – based on extensive testing – have concluded that either photoelectric or ionization technology provides adequate escape time in most fires.  Because different technologies are more sensitive to different types of smoke particles, for maximum protection, First Alert and fire experts recommend that you use both photoelectric and ionization smoke alarms – or dual sensor smoke alarms –on every level or the cost of dual alarms.  IN that event, either technology provides adequate time to escape in most fires.

FIrst Alert products are subject to rigorous internal testing on a frequent basis.  We also meet or exceed standards set by the American national Standards Institute (ANSI) / Underwriters Laboratories.  The ANSI/UL's standards result from stringent, independent testing and input from various interest parties, including fire services and governmental agencies.  That testing – and the resulting standards – are what consumers should look to in judging product quality.

FIrst Alert, along with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and fire services around the country, strongly recommend the following:

  • Every home should have a smoke alarm on every level of the home and every bedroom to provide the earliest possible warning
  • Batteries in smoke alarms should be checked every month and replaced at least every six months
  • Smoke alarms should be replaced entirely at least every ten years
  • Keep fire extinguishers in the kitchen and other locations throughout the home
  • Every family should have an escape plan and practice it once a year

If your alarm sound, leave the residence immediately.  Do no re-enter until fire officials say it is safe.


Statement from First Alert on part 2 of Dateline NBC's report on smoke detectors 

March 6, 2013

First Alert smoke alarms meet or exceed ANSI / UL standards, including the ANSI / UL standards dealing with alarm sound levels. First Alert manufactures and markets a wide variety of smoke alarms including alarms with voice and location capability.

The National Fire Protection Association credits smoke alarms with helping reduce fire-related fatalities in the U.S. by over one-third in the last ten years. Having a properly installed and working smoke alarm in your home increases your family’s chance of safely escaping a fire by up to fifty percent.

  • Because smoke alarms may not awaken all individuals, BRK Brands, Inc., the makers of First Alert smoke alarms, recommends:
  • Install smoke alarms on each level and in each bedroom of your home.
  • Replace the batteries every six months and test your alarm weekly to make sure it is working properly.
  • Plan an escape route with your family and practice it at least twice a year
  • Allow children to master fire escape plans and practice before holding a fire drill.
  • It is recommended that you hold a fire drill while family members are sleeping in order to determine their response to the sound of the smoke alarm while sleeping and to determine whether they may need assistance in the event of an emergency.





If your smoke alarm sounds, follow your family escape route, get out of the house as quickly as possible, and call the fire department. Do not attempt to fight the fire. 


Statement from Kidde on part 1 of Dateline NBC's report on smoke detectors 

Smoke alarms save lives. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the number of U.S. home fire deaths has been cut by about half since the mid-1970’s, when smoke alarms first became widely available.  

A fire’s very nature makes it unpredictable.  Because no one can know when a fire will occur or what type of fire they will have in their home, virtually every recognized fire authority and safety expert – including NFPA, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) – recommend having bothphotoelectric and ionization alarms for optimal protection against flaming and smoldering fires.  Kidde supports and states this recommendation on its packaging, website and in its owner's manuals.

Kidde offers photoelectric and ionization smoke alarms as well as a dual-sensor alarm that combines both technologies in one unit.  All three can be found at home improvement stores and other retailers nationwide, or online.  In addition, every Kidde smoke alarm – regardless of technology - must pass identical tests in order to meet the current smoke alarm performance standard, UL 217.

Knowing the difference between alarm technologies can help consumers to make an educated decision on alarm placement.  However, regardless of technology, a home that does not have enough working smoke alarms is still underprotected.  It is vital that families have working smoke alarms on each floor, outside of sleeping areas and inside each bedroom.  Families must also practice an escape plan, so they know what to do when the alarm sounds.

For more information on smoke alarms and fire safety, visit


Statement from Kidde on part 2 of Dateline NBC's report on smoke detectors 

As the leading manufacturer of residential fire safety products, Kidde reviews industry data, trends and scientific studies in order to advance technology and create solutions to further protect people and property from fire and related hazards. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports nearly two-thirds of residential fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or no working alarms, mainly due to dead or missing batteries. Prompted by this data and research showing the potential benefits of a long-life sealed-in battery, Kidde introduced the first UL-listed line of sealed-in lithium battery smoke alarms in November 2012. These alarms provide continuous protection for a decade and eliminate the need to replace batteries. 

One version of Kidde’s new Worry-Free alarms contains a pre-recorded voice in addition to the temporal beeping pattern. The alarm is recommended for installation in bedrooms, as research conducted nearly 10 years ago by Dr. Dorothy Bruck at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, concluded that using a recorded voice or low pitch signal may be more effective at waking children ages 6 to 15. Kidde has offered a combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarm with a pre-recorded voice [available in hardwire or battery-power] for nearly ten years. The voice clearly states ‘Fire, Fire’ and with a combination alarm also states ‘Warning, carbon monoxide!’ if CO is detected.

Dr. Bruck’s study reviewed parent- and pre-recorded voices. Kidde decided to use a pre-recorded voice as the company believes that a life safety product should be ready for use when it is removed from packaging without requiring additional programming. 

Scientists and researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and other agencies and associations play an invaluable role in keeping America’s families safe. The testing standards to which Kidde’s smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are listed (UL 217, UL 2034) often evolve based on research findings. Kidde continually monitors these and other fire-related studies to identify ways to incorporate these results into its new technology and products. 

In addition, Kidde urges all families to install smoke alarms throughout the home, inside and outside of sleeping areas, and to practice an escape plan so that everyone knows what to do in the event an alarm sounds.