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New Smoke Detector Law Takes Effect April 1

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) - A lot of people may have been busy changing out batteries in their smoke detectors, but New York state is moving away from selling those kinds of devices.

The advice has always been that homeowners and apartment dwellers use the occasion of the time change twice a year to change out batteries in ther smoke detectors.

But starting April 1 smoke detectors with removable batteries will no longer be sold in New York state.

All new or replacement smoke detectors sold in New York state must be either powered by a 10-year, sealed, non-removable battery, or be  hardwired to the home.

People with removable-battery detectors can still keep them, but when they need to be replaced, those types of devices won't be available for sale after April 1.

Also, after April 1, homeowners and landlords must upgrade the detectors before selling or renting homes and apartments, even if the old ones are still working.

Rochester Fire Department Battalion Chief  Jim Hartman says the 10-year detectors will help prevent house fires, which are often a result of non-functioning detectors.

"It just caused so many problems that you were able to remove batteries, and the fact that those nine-volt batteries could be used to power other things. People were taking them out and using them for their remote control or something, for a second and forgetting to put them back. It is just something we should’ve done long ago. And I am glad the legislation finally past and has become a reality,” Hartman told WXXI News.

Hartman recommends that any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old should be upgraded.

The new detectors are more expensive than the older models, and the Rochester Fire Department will provide up to two smoke alarms  to city residents who do not own a working smoke detector, or would like someone to check their current devices.  Residents can call 311.