Fire and public health officials gathered at the Quincy Fire Department this week with Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) and Representative Randy Frese (R-Paloma) to make the public aware of Illinois’ new 10-year smoke detector law.
“In 2017, there were 114 residential fire deaths in Illinois and sadly already 90 fatalities so far in 2018. The majority of these deaths are occurring in homes without working smoke detectors. The General Assembly passed a new law to address this horrific problem, by requiring Illinois residents to replace their old smoke detectors with the type that has a long term 10-year sealed battery by the end of 2022,” explained Sen. Tracy “This would apply to residents that are still using alarms with removable batteries or alarms are not hardwired.”
“Since 1988, the Illinois Smoke Detector Act has required all dwellings to have smoke detectors, the new requirement just updates that law to reflect the changes in new technology, aimed at saving lives, while making it easier and more cost effective for Illinois residents to comply,” said Rep. Frese.
“On average families have less than 3 minutes to escape a fire from the time an alarm sounds before it turns deadly. We are working to ensure that everyone is compliant with the new legislation and has the tools needed to help protect themselves and their loved ones in case of fire,” said Quincy Fire Chief Joe Henning.
While homes built after 1988 are required to have hardwired alarms, most older homes built before then, still have smoke detectors with removable batteries, which are the kind this new law would impact.
“With a long term 10-year battery alarm, there is no need for battery replacement; saving the average homeowner between $40-$60 in battery costs over the life of each alarm. At the end of the 10-year life cycle, the smoke alarm will automatically alert the homeowner to replace the alarm,” said Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) Executive Director Phil Zaleski.
“While many people deactivate their older model smoke alarms or remove the batteries while cooking, the 10-year model is not a cooking nuisance and has a 15-minute silencer button. They are also very affordable with the current retail price being under $20,” explained IL Firefighters Association Government Affairs Director Margaret Vaughn.
“Installing 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms helps families stay protected, with the most advanced sensing technologies and safety features available,” said Adams County Health Department Administrator Jerrod Welch.
“Home fires have proven to be one of the largest disaster threats facing American families today, resulting in more than 8 out of 10 fire-related deaths. Creating a fire escape plan with your family and practicing it is a smart thing for every family to do,” said Triena Larsen, Safe Kids Coordinator with the Adams County Health Department. “In the event of an emergency, a child could feel overwhelmed or worried. Practicing home fire drills and having working smoke detectors can help teach your children how to be prepared in case of a home fire.”
The Quincy Fire Department (217) 228-4459 can offer assistance installing alarms to area residents upon request by reaching out to their Departments’ Fire Prevention Bureaus. First Alert is providing smoke alarm installation kits to the Quincy Fire Department.