10 Year Battery Life Smoke Detectors Now Required For Older Homes
New Smoke Detector Rules Go Into Effect On December 1, 2016
Catching many people by surprise, including me, a new change in Massachusetts smoke detector regulations will take effect Dec. 1. The new rules provide that when homes built before 1975 are sold, the house must be equipped with smoke detectors with a 10-year life span. These detectors are sold as ten year sealed lithium battery power smoke alarms. They can be found at your local Home Depot or hardware store.
Also remember that current rules require photoelectric detectors covering the area within 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom containing a bathtub or shower. The ten year sealed detectors are sold with both photoelectric and the older ionization technologies. I found this Kidde 10 Year Kitchen Model at Home Depot selling for $ 49.97.
As part of this year’s Fire Prevention Week in October, State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey told the Boston Globe that “what we’ve seen in the past eight to 10 months across the state is that our fatal fires involve homes that have smoke alarms in them, but they are inoperative.” Ostroskey said that as investigators search charred wreckage of fatal fires, they have discovered that batteries have been removed or that the smoke alarms had been replaced yet were no longer functioning properly because they are ten years old or older.
Ostroskey said the 1975 cutoff date was chosen because homes built after that year were already required by the state building code to have hard-wired power supplies for smoke detectors. But even those hard-wired detectors need to have backup batteries replaced, and the detectors should be replaced every 10 years, too, he noted.
A Fact Sheet from the State Fire Marshal is available here.
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