October 15, 2015

Smoke alarms have led to wrongful death lawsuits in the past, usually when it was found that the alarms were not working and that people were put needlessly in danger. In some cases, landlords have been forced to pay for faulty alarms on the grounds that they should have done better upkeep on the property.But what about smoke alarms that work, just not well enough?

It’s an interesting question because there are some people who think that the standard smoke alarms that most people have, which are known as ionization alarms, are not actually helping to keep people from dying in fires.

The issue, they say, is that ionization models typically detect the type of smoke created by a hot fire that burns very fast. These fires are less likely to occur at night and more likely in the middle of the day when something catches on fire on the stove, for instance. During the day, alarms don’t help nearly as much because people are far more likely to notice the fire on their own.

The better type of alarm, the supporters claim, is a photoelectric alarm. It is better able to pick up smoke from a slow-burning fire, like the smoldering type of blaze that could start at night due to a faulty electrical socket.

In fact, people have said that the only reason the unsafe ionization alarms have not been subjected to a recall at this time is because of the thousands and thousands of wrongful death lawsuits that would then come up as people realized they’d been sold a product that wasn’t safe to start with.

If you’ve lost a loved one in Pennsylvania and you think the alarm was to blame, be sure you know about all of your legal options.

Source: Courant, “Kevin Hunt: Did Millions Of People Buy The Wrong Type Of Smoke Alarm?,” Kevin Hunt, accessed Oct. 15, 2015