January 01, 2015

By Diana L. Martin, Theodore J. Leopold, and Leslie M. Kroeger

“Effective January 1, 2015, a battery-powered smoke alarm that is newly installed or replaces an existing battery-powered smoke alarm [in a one-family or two-family dwelling in Florida] must be powered by a nonremovable, nonreplaceable battery that powers the alarm for at least 10 years.” § 553.883, Fla. Stat. As three out of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms, this new legislation will hopefully reduce that statistic in Florida by mandating the use of smoke alarms that will work for 10 years without a power-failure. But, should Florida have gone even farther by mandating the type of smoke alarms that must be installed in homes? Juries in at least two cases have found that ionization smoke alarms (one of the two different types of smoke alarms on the market) are defectively designed and cannot be relied upon by consumers to timely warn of fire. Yet, this is the type of alarm installed in most homes throughout the country. 

The full article can be read here.