Philadelphia is moving to demanding homeowners install a new kind of smoke alarm.
Councilman Curtis Jones’ bill calls for installing smoke detectors with sealed batteries in single and two family homes if they don’t have a hard-wired detector.
Since this type of alarm doesn’t use standard 9 volt or AA batteries homeowners won’t be tempted to take batteries to power the remote control or other device. The sealed battery, that can’t be removed, also lasts ten years.
Deputy Fire Chief Richard Bailey says the department has been using the sealed detectors when installing them in homes for the past two years because they are tamper-proof. When fire strikes, he says all too often smoke detectors are installed, but not working.
“In 34.3 percent of one and two family dwellings the smoke alarms had no batteries,” said Bailey, “and in 24.2 percent the batteries were dead.”
The sealed alarms cost a few dollars more at time of purchase, but can save homeowners money on replacement batteries.
New construction in Philadelphia already requires a hard-wired smoke alarm system with a battery backup.