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Smoke Alarm Legislation

FAQ’s- smoke alarm legislation – SB- 969  HB- 1413- effective July 1, 2013
Question: What does the new smoke alarm law require?
Answer:  The new smoke alarm law requires that smoke alarm placement by January 1, 2018 be on all levels of the residence, including basements but excluding unoccupied attics, garages and crawl spaces.  Homes built prior to 1/1/1989 only required smoke alarms outside of sleeping areas, not necessarily on all levels.
If battery powered smoke alarms are installed or replaced they must be the sealed battery type, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and have a silence/hush feature or be electric with battery backup.
Smoke alarms that are battery powered are not required but are an option in areas that do not require electric.
If smoke alarms are added in areas that did not previously require them, they can be battery or electric powered. They do not need to be interconnected.
Compliance with these provisions is required prior to January 1, 2018 if the following applies:
  • Existing smoke alarm exceeds 10 years from date of manufacture.
  • The smoke alarm fails to respond to tests or fails to operate.
  • There is a change in tenants.
  • A building permit is issued for an addition or alternation to the residence.
Question: When did the new law go into effect?
Answer: July 1, 2013.
Question: Who does it apply to?
Answer: It applies to all residential occupancies which include single family detached homes, townhomes, apartments and condominiums, motels-hotels and rooming houses.
Question: When does a residence need to comply with the new law?
Answer: By January 1, 2018 unless the following occurs:
  • The smoke alarm exceeds 10 years from date of manufacture.
  • The smoke alarm fails to respond to tests or fails to operate.
  • There is a change in tenants.
  • A building permit is issued for an addition or alternation.
Question: Is it a requirement to immediately install the new type battery powered smoke alarm that is sealed, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and has a silence/hush feature to comply with the new law?
Answer: No one is required to install battery powered smoke alarms.  Electric powered smoke alarms with battery backup can also be installed instead of battery powered.
An existing smoke alarm must be replaced if the following applies:
  • The smoke alarm exceeds 10 years from date of manufacture.
  • The smoke alarm fails to respond to tests or fails to operate.
  • There is a change in tenants.
  • A building permit is issued for an addition or alternation.
Question: When is the new type type battery operated smoke alarm that is sealed, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and has a silence/hush feature allowed to be used?
Answer:  In locations that were not previously required to have smoke alarms or to replace existing battery powered smoke alarms where electric powered are not required. It is permitted but not required to use electric power smoke alarms instead of the battery type where only battery smoke alarms are required.
Question: If existing battery smoke alarms are operational, are they required to be replaced with the new type battery operated smoke alarm that is sealed, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and has a silence/hush feature?
Answer: If the smoke alarm is greater than 10 years old from date of manufacture, it needs to be replaced with the new type battery operated smoke alarm that is sealed, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and has a silence/hush feature or with an electric powered smoke alarm with battery backup.  You always have the option of using an electric smoke alarm with battery backup.
Question: Do electric smoke alarms need to be replaced with the new battery operated type.
Answer: No, electric smoke alarms required to replace them with another electric smoke alarm with battery backup.  A battery operated smoke alarm cannot be used. Smoke alarms needs to be replaced if they are not operable or they exceed 10 years from date of manufacture.
Question: If electric smoke alarms are replaced with a new electric smoke alarm, does it need a long life battery backup?
Answer: No, the electric smoke alarm can have a normal battery backup.
Question:  If a residence is rented, who is responsible for compliance with the law?
Answer: The landlord or property owner is responsible for installation, repair, maintenance and replacement.  The occupant is responsible for testing.  The tenant must notify the landlord in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested or by hand delivery.  The landlord must provide written notification of receipt and repair or replace within 5 days.
Question:  Where smoke alarms were required to be installed in a residence?
Answer: The requirement for smoke alarms depends upon when the home was permitted for construction.
Smoke alarm installation by date of construction
Homes built prior to July 1, 1975 At one smoke alarm outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping. The smoke alarm can be a battery type or electric.
Homes built July 1, 1975 thru December 31, 1988 At least one electric smoke alarm outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping.
Homes built on or after January 1, 1989 and prior to July 1, 1990 At least one electric smoke alarm on each level of the home including the basement but excluding the attic. Smoke alarms must be placed outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping.   Smoke alarms must be interconnected so that if one activates, the other smoke alarm also activates.
Homes built on or after July 1, 1990 At least one electric smoke alarm with battery back up on each level of the home including the basement but excluding the attic. Smoke alarms must be placed outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping. Smoke alarms must be interconnected so that if one activates, the other smoke alarm also activates.
Homes built on or after October 23, 2003 (per AACo. Building Code) At least one electric smoke alarm with battery back up on each level of the home including the basement but excluding the attic. Smoke alarm must be placed inside of bedrooms and also outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping. Smoke alarms must be interconnected so that if one activates, the other smoke alarm also activates.
The new smoke alarm law requires on all levels, including basements but excluding unoccupied attics, garages and crawl spaces by January 2018 for all residences, regardless if when it was constructed.
Compliance with these provisions prior to January 1, 2018 is mandated if the following applies:
  • Existing smoke alarm exceeds 10 years from date of manufacture.
  • The smoke alarm fails to respond to tests or fails to operate.
  • There is a change in tenants.
  • A building permit is issued for an addition or alternation to the residence.
For questions about the new smoke alarm legislation, contact the Fire Marshal
 
 
 
 
 
 


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