ALBANY – The days of replacing the battery in your smoke detectors will be slowly phased out in New York.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill late Monday preventing the sale of smoke-detecting devices powered by removable, replaceable batteries beginning in 2017. Instead, retailers will only be able to sell only smoke-detecting devices with a power source that isn’t removable and lasts at least a decade.
With the new law, New York becomes at least the ninth state to have some type of rules requiring 10-year smoke alarms on the books.
“Thankfully, due to the increased availability of extended life batteries and new tamper resistant smoke detectors we can now put this technology to use to help individuals and families better protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, who sponsored the bill.
The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, does not require homeowners to go out and purchase new smoke detectors.
It applies only to the sale of smoke alarms, meaning the existing devices already in homes will be allowed to remain there until they stop functioning. And smoke detectors with replaceable batteries will continue to be on sale in the state throughout 2016.
Smoke detectors with a 10-year lifespan are already on the market, starting at about $20. Most are powered by lithium batteries, not a traditional 9-volt.
In an approval message, Cuomo, a Democrat, said the language in the bill has “technical issues” that will make it difficult to implement, but lawmakers have agreed to pass some minor changes when they return to the state Capitol next month.
Among the changes, according to Cuomo’s office, will be clarifying language that will give the state fire administrator freedom to review the requirements as technology improves. Some concerns were raised about how the bill was written and whether it would limit the law to smoke detectors that are currently on the market.
Also, the changes to the law — which will need to be approved by the full Legislature next year — will also make clear stores won’t face penalties from the state if they’re caught with ineligible smoke alarms in stock before 2019.
“All homes and businesses must have working smoke detectors and it is undisputed that these devices save lives,” Cuomo wrote.
The Legislature passed the bill in June, not long before ending its 2016 session. It was sponsored by Morelle and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, R-Suffolk County.
When the bill passed, Morelle dedicated it to Tyler Doohan, a 9-year-old boy who was killed in a Penfield, Monroe County, trailer fire last year. Fire investigators believed Doohan was trying to save his uncle, who was also in the trailer.
“Tyler’s story goes to the heart of what this legislation seeks to achieve,” Morelle said.
Article courtesy of Rockland Journal News