Recent research, presented earlier this month at the UL Fire Engineering Advisory Council meeting, shows while smoke alarms continue to play an important role in reducing deaths and injuries from fires, an almost 50-percent drop in fire deaths has been attributed to smoke alarms since the mid-1970s. “The inference is that fires behave differently today than they did in the past because homes now contain larger quantities and different types of materials,” says Tom Chapin, general manager of UL’s Fire Safety Division. “Our objective is to gain a better understanding of how these newer materials burn in a residential setting and the types of smoke they generate.”