HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

FOLLOW US
The Ultimate Smoke Detectors Quiz
by Staff
Smoke detectors save thousands of lives every year. A fire can start in the most unexpected places, so it is important to be prepared. Take this smoke detector quiz to see how much you know about these life-saving tools.

How many residential fires occur in the U.S. each year?

  • 200000
  • 400000
  • 600000

Which of the following appliances are responsible for many fires?

  • toasters
  • ovens
  • dryers

Which of the following is more likely to cause a fire?

  • chimneys
  • space heaters
  • equal likelihood

What sort of clothing should you wear when cooking?

  • fitted clothing
  • clothing with strings hanging off it
  • loose clothing

With a 1 in 300 chance that your house will catch fire, the importance of smoke detectors becomes obvious. How much do the cheapest smoke detectors cost?

  • 3
  • 7
  • 11

What sort of battery does a smoke detector need?

  • C battery
  • AA battery
  • 9-volt battery

Photoelectric and ionization detectors are the two most common types of smoke detectors. How does smoke trigger a photoelectric detector?

  • It creates a light signal.
  • It bends a light signal.
  • It blocks a light signal.

Why does the light sensor in a smoke detector need to be at a 90 degree angle to the light beams?

  • to a make it more sensitive
  • to make it cheaper
  • to make it bigger

Which type of radioactive element is used in an ionization detector?

  • strontium-89
  • nickel-59
  • americium-241

How long is the half-life of americium?

  • 234 years
  • 342 years
  • 432 years

What is a curie?

  • a type of radioactive material
  • a unit of measure for radioactive material
  • a bond between radioactive materials

What type of nuclear radiation is emitted by americium-241?

  • alpha particles
  • beta particles
  • gamma particles

What do the alpha particles do to the oxygen and nitrogen atoms in the chamber of a smoke detector?

  • They radiate them.
  • They ionize them.
  • They burn them.

In addition to a radioactive source, an ionization detector contains two plates with a battery-supplied voltage across them. What is attracted to the plate with negative voltage?

  • positively charged atoms
  • negatively charged electrons
  • neutral oxygen and nitrogen particles

How does smoke affect the electrical current in a smoke detector?

  • It ruins the plates.
  • It overloads the current.
  • It disrupts the current.