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Boston One Step Closer To Photo-Electric Alarms In Homes

BOSTON (CBS) – What the city of Boston wants to require regarding smoke detectors might be different from what many residents have in their homes.

The change that could be coming is designed to save lives, as an extra layer of protection may be required in every Boston home.

City council members are calling for photo-electric smoke alarms after an I-Team investigation showed the most common type — ionization alarms – don’t always protect you in smoldering fires.

“I believe it provides better detection for smoldering fires as well as less nuisance alarms, it would lead to less disabled detectors and reduce fire deaths in this country by 1,000 a year,” said Deputy Chief Jay Fleming of the Boston Fire Department.

According to a recent statement by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, ionization alarms, which are better at detecting flames, may not always alarm even when a room is filled with smoke from a smoldering fire.

It’s one more reason why adding photo-electric alarms is key.

“Nationally, the percentage of people dying when the smoke detector works, but works too late, is approximately 40 percent,” Fleming said.

Mayor Thomas Menino also wants to see photoelectric alarms in homes.

Because this involves fire code, the legislature and the governor have to approve it. The state fire marshal has asked for a special summit next month to take up the issue.

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