On Sunday, March 24, 2013, Dateline NBC aired a story that questioned the effectiveness of many common household smoke alarms. Their investigation indicated that many of the most common types of ionization smoke alarms, though effective at detecting some types of fire are NOT effective in detecting slow burning smoky fires. (such as those from smoldering furniture). These types of fires are some of the most common and most deadly. The trouble is that many of these fires may not be detected until too late. The suggestion of the investigative team is that ionization smoke detectors be replaced by the newer photoelectric type, or at least supplemented with one of this type on each floor of the home. Some companies have started manufacturing dual type detectors.
The full Dateline piece can be viewed by following the link below: