A smoke detector is a device that detects smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. Commercial, industrial, and mass residential devices issue a signal to a fire alarm system, while household detectors, known as smoke alarms, generally issue a local audible or visual alarm from the detector itself.
Smoke detectors are common household items. One type, ionization smoke detectors, uses a small radioactive source as a key component in detecting smoke particles. Photoelectric smoke detectors use a light and sensor to detect smoke. Ionization smoke detectors are more effective at detecting flash fires, while photoelectric smoke detectors are more effective in detecting smoldering fires. Both cost about the same, and many smoke detector models use both ionization and photoelectric features to achieve maximum detection.
Remember Always use a smoke detector in your home!
Never take an ionizing smoke detector apart.
What you can do to protect yourself
Use a smoke detector in your home. It can save your life.
Never tamper with an ionization smoke detector or attempt to remove the americium.
Replace the batteries in your smoke detector every year or as directed. Most detectors are certified for a useful life of ten years.
Return outdated ionization smoke detectors, minus the batteries, to the manufacturer. The address of the manufacturer usually can be found on the back of the smoke detector. Most communities have a separate recycling program for batteries.