USFA position on home smoke alarms

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) is aware that there is a controversy about which type of smoke alarm is most appropriate to protect people in their homes. In accordance with our mission to reduce life and economic losses due to fire, we offer the following guidance regarding home smoke alarms.

The body of scientific knowledge about fire, smoke and smoke detection has developed over many years and is extensive. The USFA has either fully or partially funded a number of research efforts, including a recent study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Center for Fire Research. Other contributors to this knowledge include the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Fire Protection Association, Underwriters Laboratories, the Home Fire Safety Council, the Residential Fire Safety Institute, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and distinguished academics with expertise in smoke alarm and sensor technology. The body of research reflects the following:

Based on this information, the USFA provides the following guidance to the public and to state and local legislative bodies that may be grappling with the issue of the proper type of smoke alarm to select for use in a residence:

Additional information on smoke alarms can be found on the USFA, CPSC and NIST websites.