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New state law requires new, 10-year smoke detectors starting April 1

Ellen Abbott
Starting April 1, the only smoke detector and carbin monoxide alarms that can be purchased in New York will contain a non-removable battery that lasts 10 years

A new state law that goes into effect soon will impact some homeowners across New York.

After April 1, you won’t be able to buy a smoke detector with removable, nine volt batteries in New York State. Instead, smoke alarms will be powered by a sealed, lithium battery that last 10 years.

"It’s not mandatory that you switch over if you do have the nine volt battery, if you do have them in," said Elton Davis, Deputy Chief with the Syracuse Fire Department. "But if you’re selling the home to someone else it’s required to have the ten-year battery. And if you’re purchasing a new detector and installing it in your house, you’ll no longer be able to purchase those nine volt battery ones as of April 1.”

Davis said that 10-year window will make it easier to ensure that a smoke detector is in working condition. He estimates more than half of the fires in the city are in homes without working smoke detectors, including the latest fire fatality earlier this month.

"Unfortunately that home was not equipped with working smoke alarms. So I’m not saying it could have prevented that fatality, but it could have given that individual a little more advance notice, that something was going on in the house, and he needed to evacuate," Davis said.

The 10-year smoke detectors do cost more than the older style. Davis said the Syracuse Fire Prevention Bureau has been distributing these 10-year lithium sealed batteries to city residents who ask for a couple of years now.