TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation
to certain smoke detecting devices
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This legislation provides that
battery operated smoke detectors within homes have batteries that are
non-replaceable, non-removable and will power the device for a minimum
of ten years.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 adds a new section 399-ccc sub-section 1 that makes it
unlawful for any person to distribute, sell, offer for sale, install
or import any smoke detecting device, which is battery operated and is
not powered by a battery that is non-replaceable, non-removable and
capable of powering the device for a minimum of ten years.
Sub-section 2 requires that the product packaging include the
manufacturer's name or registered trade-mark and model number and
state that the battery has a minimum life of 10 years.
Sub-section 3 provision of this section shall not apply to smoke
detecting devices install prior to the effective date.
Section 2 is the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: New York State first required smoke alarms in homes in
1961 and as a result fire deaths have since been cut in half. Smoke
alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in
reducing fire deaths and injuries. Yet the data clearly shows that
most fire deaths today happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no
Rending a smoke alarm inoperable by tampering with the alarm, removing
its batteries or failing to change its batteries is the next great
concern with preventable fire deaths. In the Consumer Products Safety
Commission's National Smoke Detector Project, 32% of consumers disable
their smoke alarm when they experienced unwanted alarm activation from
such sources as cooking, steam, cigarettes, dust or low battery
Long life, tamper resistant smoke alarms go to the core of addressing
disablement and failed maintenance by consumers, and do so in a cost
effective way. In recent years advancements have led to smoke alarms
that today prevent consumer tampering and that can power the alarm for
a minimum of ten years, As these alarms have become more available and
affordable, requiring the replacement of existing battery operated
smoke alarms with this more maintenance-free alarms will drive down
fire deaths and injuries.
Ten year smoke detectors are powered by Lithium batteries. They cost
on average $18-$20 and are available from all three major
manufacturers of smoke alarms in New York State. This bill would
rectify the largest contributing factor of preventable home fire
deaths; Dead or missing batteries.
On average, a standard battery powered smoke alarm costs $12 while a
ten-year battery alarm costs $18-20. However, with the cost of
replacement batteries needed (a $3.00 battery twice a year) over the
course of 10 years the cost becomes $72. The ten year smoke alarm pays
for itself in 2 years because there are no batteries that need to be
replaced and since it is recommended that all smoke alarms be replaced
after ten years, consumers who purchase ten year smoke alarms will
actually save considerable money.
Currently 5 states, and several municipalities require ten year
batteries in smoke detectors; California, Maryland, Louisiana,
Michigan, North Carolina, Philadelphia, PA, Milwaukee and Madison, WI.
According to data collected from the National Fire Protection
Association, in one-quarter (24%) of the home fire deaths, smoke
alarms were present but did not sound. In reported home fires in which
the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, 73% of the smoke
alarms had missing, disconnected or dead batteries.
The National Association of State Fire Marshals even recently even
amended their Smoke Alarm Guidance Document advising that
battery-operated smoke alarms be powered by 10-year batteries.
Much like the original legislation requiring smoke alarms in homes in
New York, this legislation is meant to save lives by addressing
preventable fire deaths. Fire officials across the country agree that
in too many of the house fires where fatalities occur, they find smoke
alarms that don't work because of dead or missing batteries.
Providing a smoke alarm that cannot be tampered with and will last for
ten years is the next step in stopping preventable fire death.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011/2012: A10631-A, amended and
recommitted to governmental operations, print number 10631-A
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on January 1, 2016,
provided however, that effective immediately, all actions and
procedures with respect to the proposed adoption, amendment,
suspension and repeal of any rule or regulation for timely
implementation of this act are directed and authorized.