State lawmakers last year updated the Florida Building Code to require the use of residential smoke detectors powered by nonremovable, nonreplaceable batteries that last 10 years. The change became effective Jan. 1.
The benefit is residents don’t have to remember to replace their smoke alarms’ nine-volt batteries every six months as recommended. Research into residential fires shows that when people do have smoke alarms, the batteries are often dead or pulled out – the difference between life and death in many cases.
The catch is the sealed units can be more expensive than the older nine-volt powered models. Alarms with nonremovable batteries can cost as much as $10 $15 more.
The change to the building code had been filed in past years but it wasn’t till Tallahassee lobbyist Kari Hebrank got involved that it became law.
Reports and statistics about smoke alarms
Ninety-six percent of all homes in the United States have at least one smoke alarm, according to a 2010 telephone survey. Based on these results, almost five million households still do not have any smoke alarms.
Smoke alarms by the numbers
In 2007-2011, smoke alarms sounded in half of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
No smoke alarms were present in more than one-third (37%) of the home fire deaths.
In one-quarter (23%) of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.
In reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (47%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms.
Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (38%) or no working smoke alarms (21%).
The death rate per 100 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms (1.18 deaths per 100 fires), either because no smoke alarm was present or an alarm was present but did not operate), as it was in homes with working smoke alarms (0.53 per 100 fires).
The death rate from reported fires in homes that had at least one smoke alarm (0.59 deaths per 100 fires) was one-third (36%) lower than in homes that had no smoke alarms at all (0.98 deaths per 100 fires).
The death rate was much higher in fires in which a smoke alarm was present but did not operate (1.89 deaths per 100 fires) than it was in home fires with no smoke alarms at all. In reported home fires with smoke alarms:
Almost half (46%) of the alarms were powered by battery only.
Two-thirds (67%) of home fire deaths were caused by fires in homes with smoke alarms powered by battery only.
Hardwired smoke alarms operated 94% of the time.
Battery-powered smoke alarms operated in four out of five (80%) fires.
Performance Electric is always available to test or install new smoke detectors in your home or business call today for electrical service in the Sarasota Bradenton area.