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Smoke alarm laws change in Illinois

Written by on March 2, 2023

NORMAL, Ill. – Illinois updated its law regarding required smoke alarms in buildings. The legislation that updated this law became effective on January 1, 2023.

The law requires all new smoke alarms in single or multi-family homes to have 10-year sealed batteries. The law also instates that smoke alarms installed prior to January 1, 2023 must be replaced when they exceed 10 years after their manufactured date, fail to respond to operability tests or otherwise malfunction.

Matt Swaney, the Normal Fire Department’s public information officer, claims that these laws will improve the effectiveness of smoke alarms.

“I think we’re going to see people keep working smoke alarms up longer because they won’t start chipping in the middle of the night and they’ll last for up to ten years. The only time they should chirp is at the end of their life,” Swaney said.

Swaney also claims that the implementation of the updated law will make maintaining a functioning smoke alarm more convenient.

“The battery is sealed inside, you don’t have to change the batteries, and you won’t have to do anything with it for the entire lifespan of the detector.”

“What we see in the field is that smoke alarms get taken down is the ‘middle of the night chirp’. You don’t want to deal with it or you don’t have spare batteries, and then you forget all about it.” Swaney said.

With the mandatory 10-year alarms, Illinois plans to decrease the problems caused by smoke alarms that homeowners complain about.

Additionally, the town of Normal offers a program where they will install the newly mandated alarm in homes for free.

“The reason we participate in this program is because we know the value of having a working smoke alarm in your house. We don’t want there to be any obstacles in the way of somebody getting a properly functioning smoke alarm,”

“Sometimes money can be tight, and some people may not have the extra money laying around to buy new smoke alarms or batteries. If you need a smoke detector, we will come and put it in your house for free. We have a bunch of new ones that keep getting sent in, and we would much rather have them protecting somebody in their house than sitting on a shelf in our station” Swaney said.

Swaney also said that this program will include the installation of carbon monoxide alarms for anybody who requests one.

According to Swaney, Illinois State University students would be protecting their friends, family, and loved ones by complying with the new mandate.

“We see it a lot around campus where students will take alarms down or cover them up. If there is a fire and we see in our investigation that the detectors have been tampered with, there can be real legal ramifications,”

“Keep those alarms up, keep them working, and we’re happy to help you with the process of doing that.” Swaney said.