New Florida Law Will Help Save Lives
Jan 1, 2015
Mebane, NC, US
MEBANE, N.C., Dec. 29, 2014 — In an effort to reduce residential fire fatalities, new smoke alarm regulations will go into effect Jan. 1 for Florida families whose homes have battery-powered smoke alarms. As outlined in the Florida Building Code, starting in 2015 homeowners must install 10-year, sealed-battery smoke alarms when replacing outdated or non-working alarms or installing new ones. Alarms like Kidde Worry-Free sealed-battery smoke alarms comply with this code change. Kidde Fire Safety, a leading manufacturer of residential fire safety products, is a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
In Florida, 114 residential fire deaths were reported by U.S. news media between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2014. Of those incidents, 43 percent of the homes did not have alarms or working smoke alarms. Missing or disconnected batteries are a main reason smoke alarms fail to operate in residential fires. A recent survey conducted on behalf of Kidde ranked late-night low-battery chirps as the top smoke alarm annoyance, with 40 percent of respondents opting to either disconnect the alarm or wait a day or more to replace the battery. A long-life battery sealed inside an alarm makes it virtually tamper-proof and reduces the risk associated with disabling the alarm.
“Millions of Florida homes use battery-operated smoke alarms, and we can’t emphasize enough the importance of upgrading these to help ensure families have working alarms in case of a home fire,” said Jon Pasqualone, executive director, Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association. “By sealing the battery inside the alarm, the unit becomes tamper-resistant and removes the burden from consumers to remember to change batteries, which will save lives.”
Also in the code changes for 2015, homeowners updating one- and two-family dwellings and town homes may now use 10-year sealed-battery smoke alarms instead of retrofitting the dwelling with hard-wired models, saving the owner time and money. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years, yet industry data from Kidde found that nearly a quarter of U.S. homeowners with homes built before 2000 have outdated alarms.
A recent survey by ORC International on behalf of Kidde also found that nearly five times as many Americans knew the shelf life of a Twinkie™ snack cake than the operating life of a smoke alarm. In the survey, 44 percent of respondents correctly identified 45 days as the shelf life of a Twinkie, while only 9 percent correctly noted 10 years as a smoke alarm’s operating life.
“Someone dies in a U.S. home fire every three hours, and most of those deaths occur in homes without a smoke alarm or with one that isn’t working. Long-life sealed battery alarms provide continuous protection for a decade and are recommended by national fire experts, including the National Association of State Fire Marshals,” said Chris Rovenstine, vice president, sales and marketing, Kidde. “We applaud the state of Florida for requiring battery-powered smoke alarms with long-life batteries and for setting an example for residents by installing Kidde’s 10-year battery alarms in 7,500 at-risk homes in 2014. We know both of these initiatives will save lives.”
Ten-year sealed-battery smoke alarms, such as Kidde’s Worry-Free line, are available at home improvement retailers and online and cost between $25 and $50. Consumers save up to $40 in battery costs over the life of one alarm. In addition, the alarms contain location-based features, such as an LED light for the hallway model. After 10 years, they will indicate it is time for replacement. For more information, visit worryfreealarm.com.