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.
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