The Fall brings about changing leaves, changing temperatures, and changing clocks. It’s also a time to change and check your home’s smoke detector. Since 1988, all homes in Illinois require smoke alarms. In 2017, the Illinois General Assembly updated the Smoke Detector Law to require changes in technology so that homes can stay safe, as well as having the latest in detecting equipment.
Jacksonville Fire Chief Doug Sills says all homes in Illinois will be required to have a new type of detector by the year 2023: “I believe in 2023, smoke detectors will be required to be the sealed-battery compartment model. It’s a 10-year unit. The thought process behind that is that you can’t take the battery out of it to put it into another device. It forces someone to replace the unit every 10 years. As the detector ages, it will collect dust and basically desensitize the censors in it. It’s a good program, and it always ensures that you have a working unit that is properly maintained.”
New homes being built are having smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors hardwired into their home’s electrical grid. The hard-wired models are also modeled in series to enable that all smoke detectors go off if one unit is triggered. Some homes are also using Wi-Fi enabled technology for their smoke detection system. Sills says that if you’re not looking to get that latest technology, one need only look for a symbol on the box or the unit you have purchased: “As long the units are UL listed. Look for the ‘UL’ labeling on it. It’s usually on the packaging somewhere, usually on the back. If it is a loose detector in a box something like that, it can usually be found on the back side of the detector with the UL symbol on it.”
According to the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom and on every level of your home. Carbon monoxide detectors should also be installed on every level of the home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 3 out 5 home fire deaths were the result of a fire without a smoke alarm or proper working smoke alarm.