Your Smoke Detector and You

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Did you know… smoke detectors are required?
The installation of smoke detectors in your apartment is legally required and usually part of your lease. According to the New York Fire Department, “Landlords must install smoke detectors in multiple-dwelling apartment buildings.” Since most fire deaths occur at home with non working smoke detectors, it is important for you and your landlord to regularly check that your smoke detector works.

Did you know… tenants responsibility for smoke detectors?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Ninety percent of single family homes across the United States have at least one smoke detector installed.” That’s great, however, it is also estimated that about one-third of all residential smoke detectors in the US aren’t functioning correctly, due to missing or dead batteries. It is the tenants’ responsibility to ensure that the batteries are up-to-date in the apartment complex. Also, make sure that the smoke detector is installed correctly. If your battery is up-to-date but the smoke detector is installed incorrectly; you have defeated your purpose. Another thing to be wary about is your neighbors. Shared housing means assuming risk from other tenants. It’s a team effort to ensure the safety of the whole complex.

Did you know… statistics of smoke detectors?

  • According to Normal, “[It is] estimated [that] 2-million residential fires occur every year in the U.S.”
  • A working smoke detector reduces the risk of dying in a home fire by nearly half.
  • According to Delaware State Fire Marshal, “Over 65% of fatal fires occur in the 10% of homes that are NOT protected with smoke detectors.
  • Colorado’s Fire Department states that, “Each day, an average of three kids die in home fires – 1,100 children each year. About 3,600 children are injured in house fires each year. 90 percent of child fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke detectors.
  • According to Fire Safety, “Fire kills over 4,000 and injures more than 23,000 people each year, while approximately 100 firefighters die in the line of duty each year.”
  • Direct property losses due to fire exceed $8.5 billion a year.

Did you know… penalties for nonworking smoke detectors?
Since smoke detectors are legally required there are many different penalties/fines for not having one, or a working one; it may depend on your lease. If you are in Oklahoma , Fire Chief Larry Mullikin states that, “If a code enforcement officer finds five non-working smoke detectors in a building and evidence that someone removed the batteries, a fine may be accessed. Fines are structured at $100 for each detector for each day the violation exists.” Although this is a hefty price, it’s not as bad as Lambton in Ontario Canada. According to Fire Prevention Officer Tom Marshall, “the fine for not having a working smoke detector is $235 for EACH non-working detector.”

Did you know … you might need a fire escape?
Living on the second (and especially 3+) story of apartments brings more concerns to the table. Tenants should have a smoke detector in each room; in a case of emergency, tenants in the higher levels of the apartment will require a longer time period to escape danger. According to the Washington State Patrol, “During a fire, you may have to escape in the dark. If your building has outside metal fire-escape stairs, ask your building’s owner or landlord to show you how to use them. Be familiar with all exits, even windows.”

3 Responses to “Your Smoke Detector and You”

  1. October 18, 2006 at 7:22 am, Guest said:

    Water Issues:

    Can an apartment complex keep tenants from having a water heater? We have been without one for Sun. Through Wednesday. What recourse do tenants have if the apartment management refuse to give them a key to another apartment to take a shower and refuse to give them a new water heater?


  2. April 03, 2008 at 10:11 pm, Guest said:

    About 4 months ago my my celling fell through because of the leak on the roof my landlord aggreed to fix it he maid an attempt to fix 2months ago but his attemp failed and in my bed room i have a lader as a stand used to hold to 2 bye 4′ in place underneth the roof fiber glass is every were and idont know what to do my tub is crackrd so it leaks water and when th floor get wet it smells like wet animal ive been realy pacient about things because i was late with the rent acouple times as well but i have pad her time and time again also pad all late fees that were given to me as well. Because she told me she couldn’t fix it until she recived my rent money i said ok i understand and payed every cent so its been 4 month like i said and nothing has been done.i have 2 infant twins 1 todler and a child ages 10months 2years and 10years i am no t a docter but ever sence the celling my kids are always sick i don’t know if that is the cause but idon’t know that it aint ether i not sure about verey much things in this maner and
    i am the only parent in the home so what are my options


  3. August 28, 2011 at 10:52 am, bob said:

    Just move out if its that bad! Life is to short to worry about the roof caving in on you.


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