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The Alarming Truth About Smoke Detectors.

Prior to this particular case, all smoke detectors were the same to me. Then in 2010, I was called on to assist in a case involving the untimely death of a family in a house fire.

The family was sleeping in their home when a fire in the living room started because of a surge protector device malfunctioning. A spark from this power strip ignited a couch cushion and a fire ensued. When a fire starts in a couch cushion the smoke that is created is some of the most dense smoke from any fire. Unfortunately, this same smoke is also the most fatal type of smoke in that it literally smothers those around it.

This particular family was in a house that was equipped with ionization smoke detectors.

What is an Ionization Smoke Detector?

Ionization smoke detectors are just one of two types of smoke detectors.  Ionization smoke detectors work by having a unit within the detector that contains specially charged particles that are affected by the presence of smoke particles.  Once the smoke particles enter the detector and effect the particles within the unit.  Once those particles are impacted by the smoke particles, it breaks the circuit and the alarm sounds.  Photoelectric detectors work by having a beam of light between two mirrors and if smoke particles break that beam in any way then the dectector will alarm.

The thing that is not clear about these detectors is that the company like to sell them as “smoke alarms” and since the ionization detectors is an older technology the manufacturers have developed a more efficient and cheaper method of producing them.  They are cheaper and the companies make more money when they sell them since, by volume, they move more of these.
The Issue
The issue is that ionization detectors are slow at detecting slow smoldering fires and better at detecting fast flaming fires.  Slow smoldering fires are deadly fires since they would include furniture fires that are deadly even before there are any significant flaming.  Since most folks think that all smoke alarms are the same they generally purchase the cheapest of the smoke detectors.  This would mean that most are ionization detectors when they only protects the house from smoke from fast flaming fires.
This family was killed from a slow smoldering fire that started near a couch and the house was filled with toxic smoke killing the occupants from smoke inhalation before there was any substantial flaming.  The ionization detectors in the house were recovered and were powered up and only began to alarm when the fire department arrived on the scene.
Capitalizing on the Ignorance of Consumers
The case against the manufacturer of the smoke detectors centered around the defects in the design and marketing of these products since they were capitalizing on the ignorance of the consumers and not adequately informing the consumers to the dangers of only having one type of smoke detectors.
Of course, the manufacturer argued that their packaging insert clearly described the difference between the two types of detectors.  They moved for summary judgment and the court denied their motion.  The case was later settled for a confidential amount that included non monetary requirements that the manufacturer provide educational services to the general public concerning the difference between the tow type of detectors and the recommendation that consumer purchase detectors that have both technologies.
Check Your Smoke Detectors
For the best protection of your family, you should make sure that you have smoke alarms that have both photoelectric and ionization technologies.  The companies now make detectors that have both technologies contained in the same unit.
The recovery for this family was significant to both the survivors and the public since we were able to affect consumers moving forward.  There is still much to do since many still do not appreciate the difference between the two types of smoke detector technologies.

Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law, P.A., a Pensacola Personal Injury law firm, has created this blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer. For more information, visit: https://www.zarzaurlaw.com

11 E Romana Street
Pensacola, FL 32502
Telephone: 850-444-9299
Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com


Zarzaur Law, P.A. Partners with Feeding The Gulf Coast, 
and Heads Up Downtown Pensacola Food Drive 
for Hurricane Michael Relief Efforts

PENSACOLA, Fla. (Oct. 17, 2018) — Zarzaur Law, P.A., a personal injury law firm based out of Pensacola, Florida has partnered with Feeding the Gulf Coast, and is leading a week long effort to raise funds and donations for victims of Hurricane Michael.

“We have personally seen what a hurricane can do (Hurricane Ivan, 2004) and how it can impact a community.” Joe Zarzaur, Owner of Zarzaur Law, P.A. “We wanted to do what we could to give back to our neighbors in the East”

Zarzaur Law, P.A., along with other participating Downtown Pensacola businesses — Tin Cow, Pot Roast & Pinot, Blue Morning Gallery, Hopjacks Pizza Kitchen and Taproom, Carmen’s Lunch Bar, O’Rileys Irish Pub and Ideawörks, will be accepting non-perishable items and donations all week long and during this Friday’s Gallery Night event.

In addition to collecting donations, Zarzaur Law, P.A. will be doing a special fund match during their monthly Legal Graffiti, fundraising event during Gallery Night this Friday, Oct. 19, 5pm – 9pm. 100% of the matching funds will go to Hurricane Michael relief efforts through Feeding The Gulf Coast.

“We are excited to have so many businesses come together to assist those affected by Hurricane Michael.” Aubrey Grier, Volunteer and Food Drive Coordinator for Feeding The Gulf Coast. “We have been pushing out food like crazy in the days following the storm and we are definitely on the hunt for more food, so this will be great!”

Most needed disaster relief items include:
Canned fruits & veggies
Canned meat and fish
Canned beans and soups
Cereal, oats and oatmeal
Pasta and rice
Peanut butter
Hygiene items
Household items
Paper products
Granola and protein bars
Single serving meals that do not require refrigeration or cooking
Instant tea
Drink mixes

Donations will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 19, during Gallery Night, at the following locations:
Zarzaur Law, P.A. – 11 E Romana St.
The Tin Cow – 102 S Palafox St.
Hopjacks Pizza Kitchen and Taproom – 10 S Palafox St.
Pot Roast & Pinot – 11B Palafox Place
Blue Morning Gallery – 21 S Palafox St.
O’Rileys Irish Pub Downtown – 321 S Palafox St.
Carmen’s Lunch Bar – 407 S Palafox St. B
Volume One Salon – 7 W Main St.
Ideawörks – 1110 N. Palafox St.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.