Inspector, mayor both recommend adding second smoke detector


"I've been to fires in this city, and the smoke detectors were hard wired into the house, yet by the time we got there people were already dead,” said Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse.

Morse was a firefighter for 26 years and has seen his share of tragedy. He says in too many cases, the smoke detectors went off too late.

There are two common types of smoke alarms: ionized and photoelectric.

"Ionized smoke detectors, which represent almost every household, fail to operate sometimes 15 to 90 minutes longer,” Morse explained.

The mayor says ionized alarms are good for detecting fast, flaming fires -- but can go off too frequently, without need.

"People feel a false sense of comfort thinking 'oh, my smoke detector works good, I just took a shower and the thing went off,’” he said.

But Morse says photoelectric alarms are much better for quickly detecting slower, smoldering fires -- which are often the deadliest.

"Most people die in a fire not from the flames, they die from the poisonous gas,” he said.

For that reason, local home inspector Chris Iula says the type and placement of smoke alarms are at the top of his check list.

"I bet most of the public do not know the difference between the two."

He recommends putting both ionized and photoelectric inside your home.

"Spending a little more money in that department is really important because what's your health worth? What's your family worth?" Iula said.

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