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Interconnected, Dual-Sensor Smoke Alarms Are the Safest

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You should install smoke alarms with two different types of sensors. Ionization sensors are better at detecting fast, flaming fires. Photoelectric sensors are better at detecting smoldering fires. But the best smoke alarms have dual-sensors which contain both detector types. Two easy-to-install, battery-powered, dual-sensor alarms are First Alert SA302 and Kidde PI 9000, about $25.

However, for the greatest safety, you should interconnect your smoke alarms by wiring them together. When one of the alarms goes off, it will set off all the alarms in your home. This will give your family the best chance to be awakened since the alarm near your bedroom will be triggered by an alarm from the other side of your home or downstairs in the kitchen or garage, where most fires start.

Unfortunately, manufacturers have yet to develop a battery-powered device that has both types of sensors and uses wireless technology to interconnect the alarms. The obstacle is that such a setup would drain the batteries. However, you can interconnect dual-sensor devices that operate through the AC power in your home such as the Kidde PI 2000, about $40.

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