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Time to change clocks, check smoke alarms

Illinois Fire Safety Alliance
Posted on 11/1/2019, 12:48 PM

Every fall, the nonprofit Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) reminds residents of the lifesaving habit of checking their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms when setting the clocks back for daylight saving time.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that 71 percent of smoke alarms that failed to operate in residential fires had missing, disconnected, or dead batteries. To combat these alarming statistics, the IFSA worked with the Illinois General Assembly to pass a law to address this horrific problem, by requiring Illinois residents to replace their old smoke alarms with the type that has a long-term 10-year sealed battery by the end of 2022. This would apply to residents that are still using alarms with removable batteries or alarms that are not hard-wired.

"Since 1988, the Illinois Smoke Detector Act has required all dwellings to have smoke alarms, the new requirement just updates the law to reflect the changes in new technology, aimed at saving lives, while making it easier and more cost effective for Illinois residents to comply, said IFSA Government Affairs Director Margaret Vaughn.

"With a long-term 10-year battery alarm, there is no need for battery replacement; saving the average homeowner between $40-$60 in battery costs over the life of each alarm. At the end of the 10-year life cycle, the smoke alarm will automatically alert the homeowner to replace the alarm," said IFSA Executive Director Philip Zaleski. He explained further, "Rather than continuing to purchase batteries for the older, 9-volt model smoke alarms, realize the cost-savings now, become compliant with the updated law, and ensure your family is protected by installing the 10-year battery smoke alarms. They are very affordable with the current retail price being between $15 to $20."

"People don't realize how quickly a fire can turn deadly and how important escape time is. Installing new 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms helps families stay protected, with the most advanced sensing technologies and safety features available," said Barrington Countryside Fire Chief Jim Kreher.

The exemptions to the updated law include homes built after 1988 that already have hard-wired smoke alarms, homes with wireless integrated alarms, and homes within Chicago city limits. Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.

To learn more about protecting your family from smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide, visit the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance website at