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Special Report: When Seconds Count

Fox 16's Josh Berry suits up to test out which smoke detector could save your life if your home catches on fire.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Fire departments say it's an unfortunate statistic but in most cases when a home goes up in flames, the homes themselves didn't have a working smoke detector.

In a matter of only seconds a fire can change lives.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), in a four year span two-thirds of all house fire deaths happened because the home didn't have a smoke detector or it wasn't working.

It's evidence, fire departments say, smoke detectors save lives.

30 year veteran with the Little Rock Fire Department, Captain Dennis McCann, doesn't under why anyone wouldn't have a smoke detector in their home.

"Cause usually when there's smoke there's fire," he said. "I think people are foolish not to have them in their homes because there's no reason not to."

Which one do you buy though? There's 2 basic types but can one save your life over the other?

Ionization alarms are often standard inside homes. They catch flack however, for false alarms when your bacon over-cooks.

Photoelectric alarms are gaining popularity but they're generally more expensive.

Either way, no agency seems able to suggest a better type.

Each detector works differently. According to the NFPA, ionization tends to detect "flaming" fires. They claim photoelectric tends to respond more to "smoldering" fires.

NFPA says smoking is a leading cause of fire deaths.

Fire departments suggest buying a smoke detector that may fit your life-style.

For example, if you're a smoker, they say buy a photoelectric because it could alert you faster if and when a loose cigarette happens to start a slow burning fire.

Since they detect fires at different stages, fire departments suggest installing both inside your home. If anything at least have one. Because when every second counts having at least one of them watching your back could be the difference in living and becoming part of another statistic.
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