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Disposable Smoke Alarms to Replace Current Models

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Tracy is one of many cities in California that are reminding residents that state law will soon require a new disposable fire alarm with a 10-year battery.

The older alarms and smoke detectors with replaceable batteries weren’t supposed to be sold after the first of this month, but an extension was approved until January 1, 2015 to allow merchants and contractors to sell off existing inventory.

Tracy Chief Building and Fire Official Kevin Jorgensen says too many people pull the battery out of units to disable alarms when the they go off accidentally, with kitchen smoke for instance.

The low battery signal is also annoying and prompts people to pull the battery and forget to replace it.

The new alarms and smoke detectors have batteries that can’t be removed. Instead you replace the entire unit when the battery dies. They cost $10 to $20 dollars more than current models. But Jorgensen says it’s worth the extra cost.

“It’s nothing when you talk about reclaiming a life, absolutely nothing,” said Jorgensen.

new smoke alarmTracy homeowner Rick Wilt doesn’t see why anyone would disable a fire alarm. He says if you do the math, the new units aren’t much more expensive.

“You have to pay a for a new battery every year anyway so $10 to $15 more, t’s not that big a thing,” said Wilt.

Those with existing units don’t have to change them to the new units until they stop working. And if you do major remodeling on your house, you are required to use wired detectors that don’t need batteries.

It won’t be long before the removable battery smoke or fire detector will no longer be on store shelves.

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