Excerpts from rockrivercurrent.com:

A new state law that goes into effect Jan. 1 requires all homes to have smoke detectors with a 10-year sealed battery life or a hardwired system.

The Rockford Fire Department and the Illinois Firefighters Association held a news conference on Wednesday to draw attention to the law and urge property owners to make the necessary changes now. The sealed-battery smoke alarms are considered more reliable than previous technology, where 9-volt batteries could run out of power or be removed by owners while cooking who then forget to replace them.

There were 97 residential fire deaths in Illinois in 2021, and nearly 70% of those deaths happened in homes without a working smoke alarm, according to Margaret Vaughn, Illinois Fire Safety Alliance and Illinois Fire Association government affairs director.

Smoke detector laws aren’t new. Since 1988, the Illinois Smoke Detector Act has required all dwellings to have the devices. Home built after 1988 have been required to have hardwired systems, but those built prior to that could use battery-operated alarms. The change represents a change in technology that provides for longer battery life, and the new law will largely apply to homes built before 1988 that will now be required to use the 10-year sealed system.

You are more likely to die in a residential fire today than you were years ago because of the toxic gases emitted from the synthetic materials in modern homes, as flashover can how happen in three to five minutes as opposed to almost 30 minutes a generation ago.

The 10-year battery smoke alarm doesn’t require battery replacement. At the end of its life cycle the alarm will automatically alert the homeowner to replace it. It should also save the average homeowner $40-$60 in battery costs over the life of each alarm, according to the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance.

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