NY tamper-proof smoke detector mandate begins in April

Starting April 1, it will be illegal to sell smoke detectors with removable, replaceable batteries in New York state


Samantha House
Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.

Starting April 1, it will be illegal to sell smoke detectors with removable, replaceable batteries in New York state.

The law was adopted in 2016 but it gave retailers three years to comply.

The law requires that battery-powered smoke detectors sold in the state must come with batteries that last at least 10 years and cannot be removed. Lawmakers said the mandate aims to reduce the number of people hurt or killed in fires.

Syracuse Fire Chief Michael Monds said the law will be great for residents.

“Once you put this 10-year smoke detector up, it’s going to be there for 10 years,” he said. “When you’re sleeping, it’s ready to work.”

Over half of the deadly fires in the United States between 2012 and 2016 happened in homes that didn’t have smoke alarms or had detectors that weren’t working, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Many of the homes had detectors with disconnected or missing batteries.

A Syracuse man this week was killed in a fire in a home without working smoke alarms, according to the Syracuse Fire Department.

Firefighters battling a house fire found James D. Sauta unconscious Monday on the second floor of his Shuart Avenue home. Sauta, 58, died of his injures.

Residents with working smoke alarms in their homes are more than twice as likely to survive a blaze as residents in houses without functioning detectors, according to the fire association.

“Smoke detectors are one of the best things you can do to save somebody in a fire, one of the best things you can do for your family," Monds said.

New Yorkers don’t necessarily have to rush to the store next month to buy new detectors: The law doesn’t require homeowners to replace their old smoke alarms. Retail businesses that ordered detectors powered by removable batteries before the April 1 deadline can keep selling the smoke alarms until they run out of them.

Prices for the 10-year smoke detectors can be purchased for about $16 to $21 for a single detector; detectors with regular batteries can sell for as little as $5 each.

Many of the 10-year smoke alarms have a feature that keeps the alarm quiet when it senses shower steam or smoke from cooking. And when the detector reaches the end of its decade-long life, an alarm sounds.

In Syracuse, firefighters are working to ensure a lack of money doesn’t prevent residents from having reliable smoke detectors.

Monds said the Syracuse Fire Department has given out over 2,300 smoke detectors during the last few years. He encouraged any resident who can’t afford a smoke alarm or rents an apartment without a detector to call the department’s Fire Prevention Bureau at (315) 448-4777.

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©2019 Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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