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How can we get smoke alarms properly located?

Question asked by ihumberson on Nov 2, 2015
Latest reply on Aug 31, 2018 by milt.werner

It's been several code cycles now that sleeping rooms in new construction have been required to have smoke alarms, and that smoke alarms cannot be located within 3 feet of a door to a bath containing a shower or tub, and that smoke alarms cannot be located within specified distance from a fixed cooking appliance. Yet, every new apartment building that I've reviewed lately has smoke alarms improperly located. All the time, I'm still seeing smoke alarms located right at a bathroom door, and right outside a kitchen. Even though NFPA 72 specifically indicates that the alarm device can be 21 feet from the bedroom door, the designers seem to think that there has to be a smoke alarm right outside the door and right inside the door - and in the larger bedrooms, sometimes the smoke alarm "in the bedroom" is just inside the door, in an alcove that is located well beyond 21 feet away from the furthest point in the bedroom that the alcove leads to.


Another issue I commonly find is that there will be a Living Room that is less than 15 feet across, with a bedroom on either side, and the designer will have two smoke alarms - one on each side of the room at each bedroom door - when only one would be needed.


I think there needs to be some outreach to the Electrical Engineering community and the folks doing the electrical design for these projects to educate them on the purpose of providing smoke alarms and some guidance on properly locating the smoke alarms to provide the best level of protection for the occupants while at the same time minimizing the potential for unwanted alarms.

Anybody have any suggestions on how best this could be accomplished?