A new Illinois law will require residents to upgrade smoke detectors in their homes by 2023 or face a fine. All dwellings in Illinois have been required to have smoke detectors since 1988, but residents are now being told to use detectors that come with built-in batteries that last up to 10 years. The new smoke detectors cost about $15 and local fire departments will be available to help with installation. Lawmakers exempted the city of Chicago from the new requirement, as are homes with wired smoke alarms or ones connected to a WiFi network. Any detector with 9 volt batteries will need replacement under the new law.
The Illinois Fire Safety Alliance said the law will prevent people from removing batteries in smoke detectors, which is one of the main causes of residential fire deaths in the state last year. IFSA also said that the design of new smoke detectors make it clearer when the longer-lasting batteries need to be replaced. The new units will also come equipped with a “hush button,” which lets users silence the smoke detector for 15 minutes at a time. The new units are also expected to save residents $40-$50 a year in replacement battery costs despite cost three times more than the older 9-volt units.
The new law will go into full effect on January 1st, 2023. Under the law, local governments can fine residents $100 if they fail to comply within 90 days of receiving a citation, and an additional $100 every 30 days until fines reach $1,500 or the cited resident installs the new device. Enforcement of the law is usually left up to local fire departments who respond to emergency calls.
The law passed in September 2018’s veto session during Governor Bruce Rauner’s final days in office.