OSFM encourages Illinoisans to purchase approved smoke alarms

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information provided by the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshall

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (February 22, 2020) – The Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshall is reminding Illinoisans of the importance of having approved smoke alarms. Illinois law requires that smoke alarms in dwelling units are listed by an approved third-party testing organization. The Smoke Detector Act (425 ILCS 60) outlines requirements for smoke alarms in dwelling units (one- and two-family homes).

According to the Act, every home or hotel must have at least one approved, operating smoke detector within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes. Further, the smoke detector must be installed on the ceiling at least six inches from any walls, or can be installed on a wall located between four and six inches from the ceiling.

An “approved smoke detector” is defined by the Act as “a smoke detector of the ionization or photoelectric type, which complies with all the requirements of the rules and regulations of [OSFM].” By January 1, 2023, all smoke alarms/detectors must have a sealed 10-year battery unless the alarms are hardwired into the home.

When purchasing a smoke alarm, buyers should be certain that the smoke alarm has been approved by a third-party testing organization—some retail outlets may sell non-listed smoke alarms. OSFM has worked to pass an update to the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code 2015 edition, effective January 1, 2020, which contains requirements for smoke alarms/detectors, including that they be listed by a third-party testing organization.

There are several third-party testing organizations that will validate that a smoke alarm meets nationally-recognized standards. OSFM does not itself endorse any specific brand of smoke alarms or a specific third-party testing organization.

“A properly installed and functioning smoke alarm will give you and your family early warning to evacuate as quickly as possible before the circumstances become dire,” says Illinois Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “In 2018 there were 105 residential fire deaths with over 70 percent occurring in homes without smoke alarms. OSFM wants to make sure all Illinoisans are purchasing and installing approved alarms, so they have the best protection in their homes.”

Residents who have questions as to whether a particular smoke alarm is properly listed can contact a local fire department for more information and assistance.