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When were smoke detectors/alarms first required in Florida?

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Florida Building Code, which has been the statewide standard since March 1, 2002, requires a smoke alarm in the hallway or area outside each sleeping room (bedroom), in each sleeping room, and a minimum of one on each level of the home (including basement). The smoke alarms must be hard-wired and interconnected, with a battery backup.

    Going back in time, there were multiple different building codes used by each jurisdiction around the state, such as the South Florida Building Code, the Southern Standard Building Code, and others. Although they all approximately followed the same timeline for ratcheting-up the smoke alarm code requirements, there was some variation, so the dates below are approximate.

• Mid-1970s - Smoke alarm in hallway to bedrooms, battery acceptable.

• Early 1980s - Smoke alarm in bedrooms, must be hard-wired.

• Later 1980s - Smoke alarms must be interconnected and at least one on each level.

• Mid-1990s - Upgraded to same standard as Florida Building Code above.

    Also, any new home, or addition to a home, permitted on or after July 1, 2008, that has a fossil-fuel burning heater or appliance, a fireplace, or attached garage shall have a carbon monoxide alarm installed within 10 feet of each sleeping room. The carbon monoxide alarm may be hard-wired (served by the home’s electrical system) or battery-powered. A combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is allowed at the required locations, which is what most builders install in new homes. 

    There is an additional requirement in the Florida Existing Building Code for existing homes with battery-powered smoke alarms, that began on January 1, 2015. It requires that, when replacing any existing battery-powered smoke alarm that has a replaceable battery, or installing a new battery-powered smoke alarm, the new smoke alarm must only have a 10-year non-replaceable battery. No more smoke alarms with replaceable batteries are allowed. But it does not mean that every home is mandated to a smoke alarm.

    Also, see our blog posts Are smoke alarms required to sell a house? and Is it illegal to disconnect a smoke alarm? and Where should smoke alarms NOT be installed?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about SAFETY:

What is the best place to install carbon monoxide alarms (CO detectors) in a house? 

Why is it important to use "cabinet screws" to mount the upper cabinets in the kitchen?

Is the door between an attached garage and the house required to have a closer (self-closing device)?

Can the smoke sensors in a home security/fire alarm system replace the smoke alarms required by the building code?

Should I get a lightning rod system to protect my house? 

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

What is aging in place? 

How do I safely remove a dead rodent (rat, mouse or squirrel) from the attic?

Does pushing the test button on a smoke alarm test the smoke sensor device inside? 

What is the minimum height of a ceiling fan above the floor?

Should a smoke alarm be installed in the kitchen? 

Why is a double cylinder deadbolt lock on an exterior door a safety hazard?

Why are rubber washing machine hoses a safety risk?

What can I do to avoid kitchen accidents and injuries?

Where are smoke alarms required to be located? 

Are carbon monoxide alarms required to be installed in homes in Florida?

Are old vinyl tile floors dangerous?  

How can I use safety checks to limit my tenant liability for a rental house?

Do you inspect for trip hazards around the home? 

When should I replace my smoke alarms?

• Why is an anti-tip device now required behind the range? 

• What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic? 

What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?

Which trees are most likely to fall over on your house in a hurricane?

    Visit our SAFETY page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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