By Mike Colgan

PALO ALTO (KCBS) – Palo Alto has become the third city in the state to require specialized smoke alarms. The ordinance, which takes affect the first of the year, affects builders, landlords and home renovators.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

The present ionization alarms, which are what most people have in their homes, are being replaced by photoelectric alarms, which experts say are safer.

”It’s the smoldering fires that we worry about, the ones that happen when we’re asleep,” said Palo Alto Fire Marshall Gordon Simpkinson. “Those fires usually go through a long period of smoldering before they break into open flame, and it’s during that smoldering period that people are overcome, and become incapacitated by the smoke and carbon monoxide. Photoelectric alarms give you the earliest warning of those smoldering fires.”

While existing homeowners aren’t affected, Simpkinson suggests they also take a look at their detectors.

”If the smoke alarm is over 10 years old, or if all you have is ionization technology, we strongly recommend that you put a photoelectric alarm in the common area,” said Simpkinson.

The photoelectric detectors cost around $15.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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