New NY State law reinforces importance of working smoke alarms

Blog Post created by susanmckelvey Employee on Apr 3, 2019

New York State has implemented a new law requiring retailers to only sell smoke alarms that feature 10-year, non-replaceable batteries. This requirement comes in response to people removing smoke alarm batteries, or not testing and replacing them as needed.


According to a CBSNewYork/AP story, New York experiences the highest number of fire fatalities each year; the goal of the new law is to help bring those numbers down.


“If I need a battery for the remote for the TV, I’m going to take it from the smoke detector. If I need a battery for a toy for my child, I’m going to take it out of the smoke detector. If the alarm keeps going off when I’m cooking, I’m going to take the battery out, and then they don’t put it back in,” said Tom McDonough, a firefighter and board member of the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York.


McDonough fought for the ban of smoke alarms with removable batteries for years. His efforts paid off yesterday when the ban went into on Monday, April 1.


New York State’s new law reinforces the importance of working batteries in smoke alarms. When batteries are dead or removed from alarms, the consequences can be fatal:


  • Almost three out of five U.S. home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (40%) or no working smoke alarms (17%).
  • In fires where smoke alarms were present but didn’t operate, more than two of every five (43%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.
  • Dead batteries caused one-quarter (25%) of the smoke alarm failures.


Smoke alarms with non-removable batteries typically feature 10-year batteries so that they don’t have to be replaced for the life of the alarm. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, or when the alarm begins to chirp, signaling that it’s running low. Also, to find out how old a smoke alarm is, look at its date of manufacture on the back of the alarm. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase or installation).


What do you think of New York State’s requirement requiring retailers to only sell smoke alarms that feature 10-year, non-replaceable batteries? We welcome your thoughts!