NORMAL - "Be Alarmed!" is a fire safety education and smoke alarm installation program administered cooperatively between the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) and the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM). The program distributes fire safety education materials and 10-year concealed battery smoke alarms to fire departments in the state of Illinois. The fire departments then deliver the education and install smoke alarms in at-risk homes within their communities while recording data for reporting purposes. Both the educational materials and smoke alarms are provided to fire departments at no cost as a result of funding from both the IFSA and OSFM.
The program was developed to educate Illinois residents on the dangers of fire in the home and how to prevent fires from occurring in the home, as well as to ensure there are working smoke alarms properly installed in homes. By providing 10-year concealed battery smoke alarms, it ensures that the power source cannot be removed from the unit and, if properly maintained, will last the life of the device.
“In 2017, there were 114 residential fire deaths in Illinois and sadly already 76 fatalities so far in 2018. The majority of these deaths are occurring in homes without working smoke detectors. The General Assembly passed a new law to address this horrific problem, by requiring Illinois residents to replace their old smoke detectors with the type that has a long term 10-year sealed battery by the end of 2022,” explained Rep. Brady. “This would apply to residents that are still using alarms with removable batteries or alarms are not hardwired.”
“Since 1988, the Illinois Smoke Detector Act has required all dwellings to have smoke detectors, the new requirement just updates that law to reflect the changes in new technology, aimed at saving lives, while making it easier and more cost effective for Illinois residents to comply,” explained Bloomington Fire Chief Brian Mohr.
While homes built after 1988 are required to have hardwired alarms, most older homes built before then, still have smoke detectors with removable batteries, which are the kind this new law would impact.
“With a long term 10-year battery alarm, there is no need for battery replacement; saving the average homeowner between $40-$60 in battery costs over the life of each alarm. At the end of the 10-year life cycle, the smoke alarm will automatically alert the homeowner to replace the alarm,” said Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) Executive Director Phil Zaleski.
“While many people deactivate their older model smoke alarms or remove the batteries while cooking, the 10-year model is not a cooking nuisance and has a 15-minute silencer button. They are also very affordable with the current retail price being under $20,” explained IL Firefighters Association Government Affairs Director Margaret Vaughn.
The Bloomington and Normal Fire Departments can offer assistance installing alarms to area residents upon request by reaching out to their Departments’ Fire Prevention Bureaus. First Alert is providing smoke alarm installation kits to the Bloomington and Normal Fire Departments.
“On average families have less than 3 minutes to escape a fire from the time an alarm sounds before it turns deadly. We are working to ensure that everyone is compliant with the new legislation and has the tools needed to help protect themselves and their loved ones in case of fire,” said Normal Fire Chief Mick Humer.
“Installing new 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms helps families stay protected, with the most advanced sensing technologies and safety features available,” said Cathy Coverston Anderson, Assistant Administrator with the McLean County Health Department.
The announcement took place as part of the “Young at Heart” senior program. Experts noted that over 92 % of the residential fire fatalities in Illinois were adults over the age of 65.
To learn more about protecting your family from smoke, fire and carbon monoxide, visit the IFSA website at www.ifsa.org or the First Alert website at www.firstalert.com.
To apply for smoke alarms in the Town of Normal, fill out this request form. If you live in the City of Bloomington, call 309-434-2627 for more information.
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