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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New UL Smoke Alarm Requirements in California

I just attended the monthly CAFAA (California Automatic Fire Alarm Association) meeting and was surprised to find out the new requirements set forth by UL for single and multi-station smoke alarms.  Now these are just for the smoke alarms in household applications.  Not to be confused with system smoke detectors (tied to a building fire alarm system).  The State of California has let a crazy requirement slip through and become adopted for these stand alone household smoke alarms to take effect January 1, 2014.  Get this, the smoke alarms are now required to have the following:
UL Underwriters Laboratories
  1. If the stand alone single station or multi-station smoke alarm is battery operated, the battery has to be sealed in the detector, non-removable, and have a lifetime of 10 years.
  2. The smoke alarm has to be monitored for end of life
  3. The smoke alarm has to have the manufacture date and installation date clearly visible
  4. The smoke alarm must have a Hush feature
Now some manufactures have smoke alarms out there that have some of these features including the Hush feature, 10 year battery and manufacture/installation dates.  Now the tricky one is the monitoring for "End of Life".  The California State Fire Marshall's (CSFM) office reads this as the necessity to provide smoke detectors tied to a building fire alarm system as they can be monitored for dirty sensing elements.  I read it differently.  Manufacturers such as Kidde have detectors with a 10 year battery life.  With that said, the detector will chirp when the battery is at a low level indicating in my mind, "End of Life".  If the detector starts to chirp, it is notifying you that the battery is near dead resulting in the "End of Life" for the smoke alarm detector.

The CSFM has also stated that these requirements are not going to be in affect for wireless battery operated smoke alarms as they report back to a fire alarm system.

Any thoughts on this?