New Florida Building Code Improves Residential Fire Safety

As of January 1, the Florida Building Code will adopt new smoke alarm regulations for residential structures. Beginning in 2015, homeowners must install 10-year, sealed-battery smoke alarms when replacing outdated, malfunctioning alarms or installing new ones. The Kidde Fire Safety Company’s Worry-free sealed-battery smoke alarms comply with the code change. Kidde is a national leader in the manufacture of fire safety products.

During the 2014 calendar year, 114 residential fire deaths were reported for the state of Florida. 43 of those deaths occurred in homes that lacked functioning smoke alarms. The primary reason for smoke alarm failure is a missing or disconnected battery. A recent survey conducted by Kidde ranked low-battery chirps as the top smoke alarm annoyance, with 40% or respondents choosing to delay new batter installation for a day or longer, or to simply disconnect the alarm altogether. Kidde’s very-long-life battery is sealed inside the alarm, making it virtually tamper-proof. This lowers the risk of the alarm being disabled and reduces the occurrence of low-battery chirps.

Jon Pasqualone, the executive director of the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association reports that, “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.” Sealing the battery inside the alarm, says Pasqualone, makes the unit “tamper-resistant and removes the burden from consumers to remember to change batteries, which will save lives.”

The 2015 code changes might save money for several homeowners, as those updating one- and two-family dwellings and town homes are now allowed to use the 10-year sealed smoke alarms in lieu of installing hard-wired models. The 10-year lifespan is within the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, which recommend replacing the smoke alarm every ten years. Kidde’s survey revealed that almost 25% of U.S. homeowners living in pre-2000 structures have outdated alarms. The same survey indicated that nearly five times as many Americans know the shelf life of a snack cake than know the operating life of a smoke alarm.

Kidde VP of Sales & Marketing Chris Rovestine says, “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…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.”



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