Iowa’s Fire Marshal is delaying a requirement that newly-constructed homes and apartments be equipped with “dual sensor” smoke detectors. Traditional smoke detectors have a sensor which detects fires that quickly leap into flames. The new-fangled smoke detectors have a second sensor that detects smoldering fires that take hours to burst into flame.
Jessica Lown of the Iowa Department of Public Safety says unfortunately, there aren’t enough of the new type of smoke detectors available. “There may be some already out there, some new constructions that have them if they can get their hands on them, but we understand from the manufacturers of these dual-sensor smoke detectors that they’re having a little trouble getting them manufactured enough to meet demand,” Lown says. “That’s why we are delaying the requirement to have them in new construction homes.”
The requirement was to take effect October 1st. It’s now been delayed ’til April 1st. “That’s when we will require all newly-constructed residential properties in Iowa to be equipped with those smoke detectors that have both sensors in them,” Lown says. According to Lown, a “normal” smoke detector has a 10-year life span. Lown says officials hope that once these new kind of smoke detectors are readily available, home owners replace their old smoke detectors with these new, dual-sensor smoke alarms which detect smoldering fires.
“Maybe there’ll be something go wrong with a wire behind a wall and it will smolder for a couple of hours before anybody even know something is wrong,” Lown says. “That’s why we think it is really important that these new kind of smoke detectors event ally make it into homes.” On April 1st, all newly-constructred “residential properties” must have the new kind of smoke detectors. That means not only homes, but any hotels, motels, dormitories or apartments that are built in the state must have the new smoke detectors if they’re built after April 1st, 2010.