Effective December 1, Massachusetts requires one- and two-family homes built before 1975 to have working, up-to-date smoke alarms. Fire inspectors, checking alarms during the home sale process, will be looking to ensure that smoke alarms are up-to-date and in working order.
State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey explained that new regulations were established because the sensing technology inside alarms deteriorates after 10 years. The new regulations require alarms to be the photoelectric type or a combination of photoelectric and ionization technology.
NFPA statistics show that three out of five U.S. home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working alarms. To learn more about smoke alarm awareness, NFPA commissioned a survey earlier this year and determined:
• half of Americans (50 percent) have three or more smoke alarms in their current home
• almost one in five Americans who have smoke alarms (19 percent) say the oldest smoke alarm they currently have in their home is 10+ years old
• nearly one in five Americans who have smoke alarms (18 percent) are not at all sure how old the oldest smoke alarm they currently have in their home is
• when asked how often they should replace smoke alarms, nine in 10 Americans (90 percent) did not select the correct answer
Checking the date and replacing smoke alarms older than 10 years was the theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme. For additional information on smoke alarm safety read the NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code® or check out NFPA’s public education resources related to smoke alarms.