ROCKFORD — A new state law that aims to reduce the number of fatal fires in Illinois will require by the end of 2022 the installation of 10-year smoke alarms in all dwellings that don't have hardwired smoke detectors.
Made possible by advances in technology, the alarms on average cost $16. They must be replaced every 10 years, but never need new batteries, according to information from Margaret Vaughn, government affairs director for the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance.
Use of the higher tech smoke alarms "not only saves lives, but will save homeowners money in the long run," on battery replacement, state Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, said in a news release.
Last year, there were 114 residential fire deaths in Illinois and there have been 94 so far in 2018. Seventy percent of fire-related deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms, officials said.
Homes built after 1988 are required to have hardwired alarms. But most homes built before then have smoke detectors with removable batteries. Those are the kind the new law would affect, Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten said.
The new smoke detectors alert home owners when it's time for them to be replaced, and they typically have a 15-minute snooze button to push when something is burning on the stove.