Firefighters voice support for 10 year smoke detector battery

COLONIE - Fall back, set your clocks and replace the batteries in your smoke detector is a familiar routine that could soon change.

A new bill would require stores in New York State to only sell smoke detectors that come with a 10 year battery. The state's Fireman's Association was in the Capital Region pushing Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign the bill.

When flames rage out of control, the result can be deadly. However, firefighters say a working smoke detector can also make all the difference.

“You can see there are serious consequences when smoke alarms aren't there,” noted Robin Schott with FASNY.

This group should know, because they're all firefighters. They're very familiar with scenes where often times they say lives were lost and the home didn't have a working smoke detector. In fact, they say disabled smoke detectors are responsible for three out of five deaths in home fires across the country.

“In the Rochester NY area, there was a trailer fire and a 15-year-old youth died in the fire -- because when the firefighters went in afterward, the smoke alarm was there, the door was open and there was no battery in it,” noted Schott.

It's a tragedy they say is part of the driving force behind legislation for a 10 year battery in smoke detectors. The firefighters came from across the state for their annual Fireman's Association of New York Legislative Conference at the Desmond in Colonie. The battery was a main priority in their agenda.

“It has passed the Senate and the Assembly in New York State. It's waiting to be sent to the governor for his approval,” explained Schott.

If it's approved, stores in New York State would only be allowed to sell smoke alarms with a 10 year battery.

“I think this is going to save lives,” predicted Jim Burns, a former state fire administrator. “People don't remember to change their batteries. We tell them change your clock, change your batteries, they don't do it.”

In addition, these new smoke detector batteries would be temper proof -- meaning they would be impossible to remove and put to use in a different device.

Smoke alarms with 10 year batteries are already available. The new law to make them a requirement would take effect in 2017.