What You Didn’t Know About Alarms
Smoke alarms and CO alarms are more nuanced than most people realize.
Residential smoke alarms have been required by national building codes for decades, yet according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), approximately 60% of home fire deaths occur in houses without functioning smoke alarms. Why wouldn’t a home have functioning alarms? There are several reasons, including the increasingly unlikely one that an older house hasn’t undergone a remodeling project since the 2000 IRC, when interconnected alarms were required both in new construction and when virtually any permitted interior work is done. In other cases, it could be that the alarms were installed in poor locations, were disabled because of frequent false alarms, or were beyond their useful life span.
In the 2009 IRC, hardwired carbon monoxide (CO) alarms joined smoke alarms as a requirement. While CO is a large component of smoke in a house fire, it also can come from car exhaust in attached garages or from poorly vented…