EFD announces new smoke detector law

Samantha Handler, City Editor

The Evanston Fire Department and public health officials urged residents Tuesday to learn about the state’s new smoke detector law, which requires residents to replace them by 2022.

According to a Tuesday EFD release, EFD worked with the Illinois General Assembly to pass the law because of the number of deaths that occur in Illinois homes without smoke detectors. In 2018, 70 percent of the residential fire deaths were in homes without smoke detectors, the release said.

The new law requires residents to install an alarm with a 10-year sealed battery by the end of 2022.

“People often have a false sense of security when it comes to fire safety,” state Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) said in the release. “The new requirement just updates that law to reflect the changes in new technology, aimed at saving lives, while making it easier and more cost-effective for Illinois residents to comply.”

Evanston fire chief Brian Scott said in the release that though the number of people killed in fires has decreased in the past, people are more likely to die in a residential fire than they were years ago. He said the majority of deaths are caused by smoke inhalation, which can be prevented by people escaping faster.

Greg Olsen, Evanston’s public health manager, said in the release that installing the new detectors will help residents stay safer.

“People don’t realize how quickly a fire can turn deadly and how important escape time is,” Olsen said.

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