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OSFM Encourages Illinoisans to Purchase Approved Smoke Alarms
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By Member Ed St. Louis
March 15, 2020

Smoke alarms serve as a key part of a fire escape plan

(Springfield) - The Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshall is reminding Illinoisans of the importance of having approved smoke alarms. Illinois law requires that smoke alarms in dwelling units are listed by an approved third-party testing organization. The Smoke Detector Act (425 ILCS 60) outlines requirements for smoke alarms in dwelling units (one- and two-family homes).

According to the Act, every home or hotel must have at least one approved, operating smoke detector within fifteen feet of every room used for sleeping purposes. Further, the smoke detector must be installed on the ceiling at least six inches from any walls, or can be installed on a wall located between four and six inches from the ceiling.

An “approved smoke detector” is defined by the Act as “a smoke detector of the ionization or photoelectric type, which complies with all the requirements of the rules and regulations of [OSFM].” By January 1, 2023, all smoke alarms/detectors must have a sealed 10-year battery unless the alarms are hardwired into the home.

When purchasing a smoke alarm for your household, be certain that that the smoke alarm has been approved by a third-party testing organization as some retail outlets may sell non-listed smoke alarms. OSFM has worked to pass an update to the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code 2015 edition, effective January 1, 2020, which contains requirements for smoke alarms/detectors, including that they be listed by a third-party testing organization.

There are several third-party testing organizations that will validate that a smoke alarm meets nationally-recognized standards. OSFM does not itself endorse any specific brand of smoke alarms or a specific third-party testing organization.

“A properly installed and functioning smoke alarm will give you and your family early warning to evacuate as quickly as possible before the circumstances become dire,” says Illinois Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “In 2018 there were 105 residential fire deaths with over 70 percent occurring in homes without smoke alarms. OSFM wants to make sure all Illinoisans are purchasing and installing approved alarms, so they have the best protection in their homes.”

To ensure you are purchasing a listed smoke alarm, you must confirm that the packaging or the item itself contains the requisite mark indicating that the smoke alarm has been listed by a third-party testing organization. Not only do listed smoke alarms provide for compliance with Illinois law, but they also serve as an assurance that you are using a smoke alarm that has been manufactured and tested to industry standards for safe and proper functioning. If you have questions as to whether a smoke alarm you own or are looking to purchase is properly listed, you can contact your local fire department for more information and assistance.


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