Fire officials will tell you that many fatal fires they've seen involved non-working smoke detectors.
So, they advise testing your detector regularly and changing batteries routinely.
But there are so many alarms available on store shelves, which one works fastest?
Photoelectric alarms detect smoldering fires faster.
But, most homes have a different fire alarm, with ionization technology.
Those alarms quickly detect fast-flaming fires.
Our sister station in Cleveland, put alarms to the test.
Their local fire department set up ionization alarms, photoelectric alarms and dual alarms with both technologies.
Then they set a fire by placing a lit cigarette into the crack in a sofa. They waited to see when the alarms would sound.
Four minutes into this test, one of the photoelectric alarms sounded.
Less than a minute later, the other photoelectric brand went off.
Then, the dual alarms with both technologies sounded.
But the alarms used by most people, the ionization alarms, had still not sounded.
In this test, the ionization detector sounded 9 minutes and 12 seconds after the photoelectric alarm.
In a government test, it took even longer.
Thirty minutes ticked by before the ionization alarm went off.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission and alarm manufacturers recommend having both kinds of alarms, or a dual alarm in your home.
Whichever you choose, make sure you change the batteries routinely and test them to make sure they work.