Due to the updated Illinois Smoke Alarm Law, residents encouraged to “Change your clock, and check or replace your alarms.”
When residents change their clocks to spring ahead one hour for Daylight Saving Time (DST) this coming Sunday, March 12, Illinois’ updated Smoke Alarm Law will now influence how citizens have checked their safety alarms for decades. The new law went into effect on January 1, 2023, and requires that alarms with 10-year sealed batteries be installed in all single or multi-family homes moving forward.
Camp I Am Me by the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (Camp I Am Me) worked with the Illinois General Assembly to pass the new law, which evolves the annual DST campaign message from, “Change your clocks, change your smoke alarms” to requiring that citizens replace smoke alarms that have removable batteries, or those that are not hardwired, with a 10-year sealed alarm once they are past the manufactured date.
The law ties closely with Camp I Am Me’s core mission to educate the public about fire and burn prevention through a range of resources and events, while also empowering burn injury survivors through supportive and enriching programs.
In recent years, the National Fire Prevention Association has reported that three of every five home fire deaths in the U.S. have resulted from non-working smoke detectors. In Illinois, of the 97 fire deaths that occurred in 2021, 70% were the result of non-working smoke detectors.
“Camp I Am Me is proud to have played an important role in updating the outdated law; it will undoubtedly save lives and prevent burn injuries, and reflects the latest advances in alarm technology,” said Philip Zaleski, Executive Director of Camp I Am Me.
Exceptions when residents are not required to immediately install new alarms include homes with smoke alarms that were installed prior to January 1, 2023, that have not exceeded their manufactured date yet. In addition, homes built after 1988 that have alarms that are hardwired or utilize wireless integrated alarms also are not required to have the sealed-battery alarms.
“We encourage everyone to take a hard look at their smoke alarms and make this change as soon as possible,” said Jim Kreher, the Camp I Am Me President and Fire Chief of the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District. “Modern technology has provided us with the opportunity to be better protected with a more reliable way to alert us to home fires and save lives, and we should all take advantage of that.”
The cost of the 10-year sealed battery alarms is normally under $20 and actually saves money because batteries do not need to be replaced over their ten-year life cycle. When it is time replace them, an alert sounds letting the residents know.
For maximum protection in the home, smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, outside of each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
For more information about updated Illinois Smoke Alarm Law, visit www.ifsa.org/prevention-resources/smoke-alarm-law/.
About Camp I Am Me by Illinois Fire Safety Alliance:
Camp I Am Me by Illinois Fire Safety Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides safe, non-judgmental environments for children and adults who have experienced severe burn injuries. An overarching goal of the organization is to help build back self-esteem and self-confidence in its participants as they experience the various programs and activities offered. Since 1989, Camp I Am Me has brought support, strength, and happiness to hundreds of children, adults, and families. The organization is supported by giving volunteers and generous supporters, including medical and fire service professionals, who donate their time and services.
Since its inception, thousands of campers and survivors have attended Camp I Am Me programs. In all, there are 18 programs that meet the needs of individuals and families who have been affected by burn-related injuries.