September 23, 2017
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Comments for: In Maine homes, law doesn’t require functional smoke detectors

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  • Henderson bobby

    The rule they passed requiring hard wired smoke detectors has caused more deaths than the lives it has saved  . When one has an issue they will all chirp of sound off due to a low battery . The fires that result in a power outage are less common that the ones who had working smoke detectors but took them down . Should be stand alone  smoke detectors that are battery operated . But I am not they guy who lobbied the NEC to sell the new units that came on the market. Some things look good on paper but do not work as well in the real world . 

    • Anonymous

      That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, They cause deaths?????

      • Henderson bobby

        No but did not save lives .

    • Anonymous

      Interesting fact, where did you find this information?

      • Henderson bobby

        just what I have observed. Most people are without power less than 1% of the time . About 10% took detectors down when they have issues .

    • Given that I’ve been out of power for no more than 24 hours in the past 3 years, I feel pretty good about the hard wired ones. Though I have a few battery powered just in case as well.

    • Emmaline Greensward

      They drive you nuts until you put in a new battery, if you’re out of batteries people unhook them to shut them up. I agree with you.

      • Henderson bobby

        Yes they do not seem to think about how the real world works . just this perfect ideal one.

  • Anonymous

    This is a very sad case all around.

  • PabMainer

    Common sense should dictate to people that having working smoke detectors can help save lives…..

    • Anonymous

      since they had a wood stove hello.i take the batteries out when i cook it goes off even if no smoke. but i put the battery on my pillow so i can not forget to put it back.

    • Anonymous

      and just making a law doesn’t teach common sense…never has, never will

  • Anonymous

    Does this mean that soon, the cops will be able to come into your home to verify your smoke detector is working properly?

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think they will bother harassing any owner… until somebody that thinks  they personally have the ability to smell smoke, detect fire, and alarm 24/7 decides not to utilize a inexpensive mechanism that was carefully designed above and beyond all that (sometimes even with a wittle high intensity light) because thinking they can do all those things cost somebody(ies) their life (lives).

    • Anonymous

      Well therein lies the rub. It is insanity to not have working smoke detectors in ones home. Having said that, a law would only enable criminal liability to be levied. I believe this family has suffered quite enough without some district attorney piling on charges, to say the surviving mother. My heartfelt condolences go out to all that lost loved ones in this horrific tragedy.

    • Anonymous

      There is no way a city inspector (or a tax assessor for that matter) can enter a private home without the owners permission. Even Law enforcement must jump high legal hurdles to enter someone’s home. That is due to the Constitution which says: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
      Given that how would a law be enforced, except after the fact?

  • Anonymous

    What a sad, sad story. How my heart grieves for the family left behind. However, I think it is terrible that there are those who would use this tragedy for their own political agenda. Why would anyone think it is okay to force people to put batteries in their fire detectors? Common sense dictates that it should be done anyway…we can’t legislate utopia. In the guise of protecting us from ourselves our freedom to govern our own lives is slowly eroding.

  • Anonymous

    I was sure years ago that we had transitioned when the fire departments gave away child locator stickers in the 70’s into the early 80’s, and then free smoke detectors were handed out. With all this  I thought it eventually became law that required at least one smoke detector per home. I must have assumed, and am very surprised. These things have saved so many lives, mine included. Possibly our leaders can pass requirements into law whithin the first days of the new session, and not debate them for several years. Talk to our fire marshal and fire cheifs for input, write it, and pass it.

    • Anonymous

      You cannot legislate away stupidity.  Common sense indicates that they do save lies but rather than replacing batteries to stop the nuisance low battery warning, they just take the old batteries out and don’t replace them.  A new law won’t fix this problem.

      • Henderson bobby

        Well the hard wired ones with low battery have to be unhooked to quiet them down . Major mistake in my opinion.

        • Anonymous

          outdoorsnut No you can not legislate away stupidity, but you can make it accountable. Bobby in regards to your comment, mine too, if a life is saved because the majority will abide by something declared law its worth it. If some disregard the law, of having and maintaining detectors then they bite the bullet when it costs a life. If it was just a person risking their own life then so be it, but the lives of others is a totally different story.

        • Anonymous

          Uh, why not just replace the battery?

          • Henderson bobby

            Yes in a perfect world that would be Ideal . Most require alkaline batteries some people just do not get that. Some of the electricial codes mean well but in the real world people are stupid or lazy . Like the one requiring the Grounds and neutrals to be separate in a sub panel. What seems to happen a lot in trailers is it get wired wrong then someone else comes along and wires a dryer wrong and the whole trailer is live back feed through the system . Much more dangerous in the real world than to just tied them together . Well code dose not take stupid into account.

          • If seperating Equipment grounding conductors from the grounded neutral conductors is not happening, how is that the NEC makers fault? Ground and neutral is segregated after the service disconnect to prevent the non-current carrying metal parts from being part of the current path. if they are bonded back together after the service disconnect, then a parallel path exists, and current will flow. This is more of a shock hazard than a fire hazard though. The NEC is not an instructional manual for untrained persons (90.1 (C)) If unsafe installations are occuring, it falls on the installer.

          • Henderson bobby

            I Agree with you But the point is people who have no idea what they are doing make it more dangerous . I have come acrossed it at least 5 times in my work where the whole grown system was made live .. I agree a potential difference of a volt or two is not a good thing but seeing a full 120 volts on the siding of a metal trailer could someone . I guess the real issue is enforcement of the existing codes . When Joe carpenter does electrical work nothing is done. Now the new law LD1833 further dumbs down the electrical trade.

  • Anonymous

    This is not a fact. State law states: Owners of single-family or multi-family occupancies are required to have a working smoke detector, photoelectric or inonization, in each area within or giving access to bedrooms.

  • Anonymous

    Law may not require them but common sense should. They are a life saver!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the law does not require smoke detectors to be in good working order in homes. But common sense would indicate that this is a good idea.

  • Anonymous

    it is common sense to have working smoke detectors in your home. it is also common sense to have escape routes in case of a fire so your family has a better chance of escaping a fire.you cannot legislate common sense.

  • Anonymous

    Common Sense…Common Sense…
    Insert battery – change twice per year
    Without a written “Law” to use common sense
    People don’t have it
    I’m sure all their remote controls have batteries

    • Anonymous

      “Without a written “Law” to use common sense, People don’t have it”

      Oh please…is there a written law telling people to clean their dryer vent, lock their house windows when they leave, or to sweep their chimney?

      • Anonymous

        No there is no law. My writing was rhetorical. You be surprised how many homeowners miss safety procedures. When life runs smooth, these procedures are often forgotten until to late.

  • Anonymous

    This statement is not true. Please read Maine State Law. Owners of single-family or multi-family occupancies are required to have a working smoke detector, photoelectric or inonization, in each area within or giving access to bedrooms.

    • Anonymous

      What’s the statute?

      • 25 MRSA SS 2464 (2) (a)

        • Anonymous

          That doesn’t says what you think it says. It says only that the detectors must be properly installed. That doesn’t mean they have to actually work.

          I can properly install a detector but not put a battery in it.

          When it comes to rental units, then the detectors have to be in “working condition.”

  • Anonymous

    Owners of single-family homes are required to have smoke detectors, but its not required they work. Whats the use.

  • Anonymous

    making a law does not make people obey them but if the insurance company is responsible for paying out and you don’t have batteries then getting insurance money
    should be harder. I am sick to death of stupid people getting rewarded for being stupid that’s not right……..Stupid should hur,t some.

  • Anonymous

    You could make having functional smoke detectors a law, but how would you enforce it?? It would take a lot of resources to do that. If we were to make it a law, the best thing to do would be to grandfather old construction and then require people to have functional detectors to get a certificate of occupancy when building a new home.

    • Emmaline Greensward

      They already do have that law for new building. Hard wired required. I don’t want town in my house checking, though, no way.

  • Anonymous

    As others have said . . . you cannot legislate common sense . . . you can only hope that folks will take the time and effort to provide for their own safety.
    Needless to say I am a big proponent of smoke detectors after having personally seen and met survivors of fires that are only here today because of working smoke detectors.
    The problem is that while most Americans have smoke detectors in their homes (something like 93 or 95% — I would have to check the NFPA stats to be sure), something like 1/3 of them may not work either due to missing batteries, dead batteries, age of the detector, etc.
    A few things to consider.
    — Replace the batteries at least once a year. Battery technology is good now and if you remember to change the batteries when you change the clock in the Fall you should easily get a year out of the batteries.
    — Replace the detector every 10 years. Smoke detectors are like any other bit of electronic tech — they have a life span. However, unlike that VCR collecting dust in your living room, a non-working smoke detector can mean the difference between living and dying in a fire. Incidentally, just pushing the test button on the detector only tests that it has power and the alarm works — it does not test the sensing unit.
    — Placement is important. Detectors should be placed in the bedrooms, outside the bedrooms in the hall and on every level of the home, including the basement. There are some poor locations for detectors — the kitchen, near heating units, bathrooms, garages, etc. as these locations tend to produce more false alarms which can cause us to disregard all alarms as false alarms if there are enough of them — plus they’re quite annoying to deal with if they are frequent.
    — There are many neat detectors with neat features. Honestly, I like the electric, battery-back up, inter-connected smoke detectors . . . but the truth is it more important to have enough working detectors rather than the latest and greatest model.
    New models include battery-powered but wirelessly linked detectors that will have all units go off if any one of the detectors senses a problem (nice if you are on the second floor and the problem is in the basement), detectors with 10-year-lithium power cells so you do not need to change the battery every Fall, detectors for the hearing impaired that use strobes, detectors that use a recorded (or pre-recorded) voice which has proven useful in waking young children vs. standard alarms, combination photo-electric and ionization detectors to cut down on the number of false alarms and give a better response to the various types of fires that one may encounter and combination CO/smoke detectors.
    My favorite feature however is the hush, or silence feature, as this allows you to temporarily silence a smoke detector if you know that is is burned toast or steam from that hot shower that has set off the detector. Rather than pulling the battery or unhooking the detector and forgetting to connect it back up all you have to do is push the silence button and it will quiet the detector for 5 minutes . . . and then the detector automatically resets itself after 5 minutes. If more smoke (or steam — steam molecules can fool some detectors into thinking it is smoke molecules) is detected the detector will sound again. One model out there even can be silenced by using your TV remote — useful for high ceilings.
    — There are two different types of detectors out there — ionization and photo-electric. I will not bore you with the two types and how they work. I will say that they detect two different types of fires — the smoke produced by a slow, smoldering fire (think electrical, cigarette in the couch, etc.) and the smoke produced by a fast, flaming fire (i.e. think grease fire) are quite different. While either type will eventually have enough smoke to go off, I personally suggest that for the best and earliest protection you go with a few of each type in the home or go with a combination unit.
    — Do not think that just because you’re paying top dollar for a detector you’re getting the best. There is a company out there in Maine who will woo you with a free dinner and then tell you that their product is the best thing since the invention of sliced bread . . . and it works . . . but their product is built to the same Underwriter’s Lab standard for detection as that cheap $15 detector you can buy at the department or hardware store. If you have a question about smoke detectors check with your local Fire Department before writing out that hefty check.
    — Final thought . . . having working smoke detectors is good . . . but without an escape plan it’s as if you have a very good looking car, but no engine inside. Talk to your family about what to do and where to go if the smoke alarms do sound.
    Any other questions . . . contact your local FD.

  • Anonymous

    We don’t need laws that would allow inforcement agencies into our homes, claiming just to check for detectors. Once that door is open they will be in you night stand drawers checking for adult toys.. people just don’t get it. They government is in the control business

  • Anonymous

    They also make smoke detectors which work on AC current. My smoke detectors are wired into house current, and have a back up battery (about the size of a ride-on lawnmower battery) in the cellar. The battery is charged by something called a “trickle charger.” the battery lasts about ten years, then costs between $20 or $30 to replace. People do not seem to realize this, but the smoke detectors themselves should be replaced every five years (according to manufacturer’s instructions.) They also have a small amount of radioactive material in them, so they should be disposed of properly.

    • Anonymous

      Most newer AC-powered smoke detectors have a battery back up that consists of a traditional 9 volt battery.
      Also, most manufacturers and experts recommend replacing smoke detectors every 10 years . . . CO detectors vary with make and manufacturer and range from as little as 3 years to 7 years before replacement is recommended.
      Finally, the amount of radioactive material in the ionization type of detector is a very small amount . . . you should have no issues tossing old detectors in the household trash . .. . there is no need to treat them as if they were a hazardous material.

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