AURORA, Ill. -- Here's to one less item on your to-do list. For the millions of New York state residents that rely on battery-operated smoke alarms for their home safety, the hassle of replacing batteries is now a thing of the past.

As of April 1, 2019, Assembly Bill 3057 (Chapter No. 583) requires that all battery-operated smoke alarms sold within the state must include a sealed, non-replaceable battery that's meant to last for the entire 10-year lifespan of the alarm. This requirement applies to any battery-operated device that detects smoke, including combination alarms that detect both smoke and carbon monoxide (CO), according to the New York State Department of Codes.

"Each year nearly 3,000 Americans die from home fires – the vast majority in homes where a working smoke alarm is absent or disabled," said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert, the most trusted brand in home safety*. "For homes without hardwired or wirelessly connected alarms, this law will help ensure that all New York residents have better protection against such avoidable tragedies."

Battery-operated CO alarms that do not detect smoke are not affected by this new law. In addition, the law does not apply to newer construction homes with hardwired alarms. The law also excludes alarms that connect to a panel, or other devices that use a low-power radio frequency wireless communication signal. However, all other expired battery-operated alarms that are replaced after April 1 must have a 10-year battery. In addition, homeowners and landlords must upgrade their smoke alarms before selling or renting homes and apartments in New York state.

First Alert has been protecting homes and families since 1958. The brand holds an extensive portfolio of 10-year sealed battery alarms that eliminate low battery chirps in the middle of the night as well as the need for costly battery replacements, all while offering protection for a whole decade. Additionally, First Alert products offer premium features like voice and location alerts, slim profile design, patented smoke entry system and an easy test/silence button.

In addition, First Alert manufactures a comprehensive line of hardwired and wirelessly interconnected smoke, CO, and combination smoke and CO alarms that are not affected by this update to New York law.

Check Your Home's Safety

The enactment of Assembly Bill 3057 also serves as a timely reminder to take stock of your home's level of safety. Along with replacing expired battery-operated alarms with 10-year models, First Alert offers the following tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

  • Practice a fire escape plan. According to a recent study conducted by First Alert, only 43 percent of Americans report having a home escape plan in place. However, only a quarter (26 percent) have ever practiced it. After planning an emergency escape route, practice it at least twice a year.
  • Test alarms to ensure they are in proper working condition. All alarms – regardless of the power source – should be tested monthly.
  • Equip your home with the recommended number of smoke and CO alarms. The National Fire Protection Associationsuggests having at least one CO alarm on each level, including the basement, and one in or near every bedroom. For smoke alarms, homes should have one installed on every level of the home and inside each bedroom.
  • Update alarms. If you don't know how old an alarm is, the safest bet is to replace it immediately, as all alarms expire beyond 10 years. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, while most CO alarms should be replaced every five to seven years (some new CO alarms are tested to last 10 years).
  • Dust off alarms periodically to maintain a clear pathway for detection.

For more information on New York state fire code regulations, visit the New York Department of Building Standards and Codes website, at https://www.dos.ny.gov/dcea/. In addition, Fire Alert provides a legislation map on its website that provides state-by-state information on smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) laws in place throughout the country. For more information on fire and carbon monoxide safety, visit www.firstalert.com.