10 YEAR SMOKE DETECTOR BATTERIES - A GAME CHANGER?
Do you have an opinion on this?
Wireless smoke detector batteries that are used industry wide do not conform to this mandate.
New York Mandates Nonremovable Batteries for Smoke Detectors
The newly adopted legislation affects smoke detectors sold beginning Jan. 1, 2017.
A new nonremovable battery law in New York is intended to keep smoke detectors operating by making it impossible for consumers to disable the device if it goes off or to borrow the batteries for some other use.
ALBANY, N.Y. – A new law in New York mandates that smoke detectors must now contain nonremovable batteries with a working life of at least 10 years. The legislation, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday, affects smoke detectors sold beginning Jan. 1, 2017.
The law is intended to keep detectors operating by making it impossible for consumers to disable the device if it goes off while cooking or to borrow the batteries for a kid’s toy or some other use.
The new types of detectors also are meant to address the problem of homeowners’ forgetting to keep fresh batteries in the devices, Robert Leonard, public relations chairman of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, told the Buffalo News. Nationally, about two-thirds of fire fatalities occur in places with no smoke detector or no working smoke detector, said Leonard, a Long Island volunteer firefighter.
“The goal of this legislation is to require all stores in New York to only carry the 10-year, sealed battery smoke alarm,” said Leonard, whose group represents 94,000 volunteer firefighters in the state.
Several of the 10-year models are already available on the marketplace, at a cost of about $25, according to the newspaper. The up-front costs will be higher for consumers, but proponents of the bill say they will save the costs of battery replacement in the long run.
In listening to industry concerns, Cuomo got lawmakers to go along with a change that keeps the law’s effective date at Jan. 1, 2017, but creates an additional two-year window after that before full compliance with the sales mandate must be met, according to the newspaper.
In his approval message, Cuomo said there are “technical” issues that could make the law difficult to implement. He did not identify those issues, but said the sponsors of the bill have agreed to work on amendments in the coming legislative session.
Eleven other states, as well as numerous cities, have variations of a long-life smoke detector mandate, according to the newspaper.
I believe government is stretching a bit too far on this one. What happens in ten years ? The same thing that happens in one year, a tenant or landlord doesn’t replace the device. What about when a tenant just covers a smoke detector with a plastic bag? I believe all commercial buildings (including apartments) should have an annual inspection of some kind to detect smoke detector and other life safety deficiencies. I have not been able to locate any information in regards to the acceptance of low voltage wireless smoke detectors that are commonly used in the security systems industry. The batteries are removable and don’t last ten years.
Does the fact that these units are supervised and report low battery conditions make them acceptable?
Commercial Instruments & Alarm Systems, Inc.
Catskill, New York
I'm not sure if these 10 year battery operated smoke detector devices are intended as stand alone devices or connected to the alarm system and monitored. I am going to guess they are stand alone and not part of the monitored alarm system. If alarm companies install these detectors or give them away as promotional items intended as stand alone or somehow connected to the monitored alarm system [I think there are devices that pick up the smoke detector's audible signal and connects to the monitored system] then the alarm company is going to have some responsibility for these devices.
All of the Standard Form Agreements provide that the alarm company is not responsible for obsolete devices, devices that have reached their end of life and batteries. Also, all of the Standard Form Agreements have various protective provisions that exempt, limit and shift liability. So it may very well be that the Standard Forms already have sufficient terminology to insulate the alarm company in regards to the battery smoke detectors. But I think its prudent to point out that care needs to be taken to ensure that the subscriber understands the functionality of the sealed smoke device. That disclosure needs to be in either the printed form agreement [which will require an update - one of many most likely during 2016] or in the description of services and equipment, which is a rider to the All in One form agreement. I suggest that the subscriber be reminded that although the batteries are intended to last 10 years, they may not, in which event the sealed smoke detector device is useless and should be discarded and replaced. It needs to be clear that the alarm company is not responsible for the device. Even inspecting or servicing it needs to exempt batteries, since batteries can cease to function at any time in unpredictable ways. I don't know if the device will somehow let the consumer know that the device no longer works. A ! red light going off isn't going to be sufficient notice in my opinion.
I hope the fire alarm experts have more to suggest and I'd like to hear from them. Thanks to Joe Sacchetti for sending this in.