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City of Reno reminds public about smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector requirements

Post Date:08/31/2017 9:53 AM
The City of Reno is reminding the public about smoke alarm and carbon monoxide (CO) detector requirements after hearing what happened to a local senior. A contractor apparently knocked on the door of a local senior, telling her that the building code has changed and that she needed to pay hundreds of dollars for a hardwired smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. In reality, building code only requires battery-operated detectors in existing homes.

“Many seniors are on a fixed income, and we want them to know that they don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars upgrading their smoke alarms,” said Reno Vice Mayor Neoma Jardon. “The building code for existing homes hasn’t changed. Don’t fall for this scam.”

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are critical to home safety, warns the Reno Fire Department. It is important to know the proper use and maintenance for these devices, as they monitor homes for potential hazards.

“Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are essential home-safety devices,” said Reno Fire Chief Dave Cochran. "If you do have battery-operated alarms and detectors, it's important to remember to check them at least twice a year to make sure they're operating properly and can alert you in case of potential danger."

New-construction homes, apartments, dormitories, hospitals and other residential buildings require hardwired smoke alarms and in some cases carbon monoxide detectors, but current code does not require existing homeowners to retrofit their system to be hardwired.  

Smoke Alarm Information:

Smoke alarms are essential to every home. They can detect fires early and alert occupants in the household while the fire is still small. Three of every five home-fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no working smoke alarm.

It is important to have at least one smoke alarm in each sleeping room, in the hallway, and at least one on every floor. To make sure your smoke alarm is working, be sure to change the batteries twice a year, as the leading cause of smoke alarm failure is dead batteries. The best way to monitor your smoke alarm is to test each one frequently simply by pressing the "test" button. It is also important to know that smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years to ensure proper function and safety.  

Carbon Monoxide Detector Information:


More than 150 people in the United States die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with consumer products, including generators. Other issues include faulty or misuse of home appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters  and fireplaces. CO is a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas that derives from the incomplete burning of common fuels such as natural or liquefied petroleum, gas, oil, wood or coal.

The initial symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. However, higher concentrations of CO can result in mental confusion, vomiting, loss of muscular coordination or consciousness and ultimately death.

Every home that uses a fuel-burning appliance should install carbon monoxide detectors to provide early warnings of CO in the air. These alarms should be installed in a central location outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home. To avoid CO exposure, make sure to use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from any doors, windows and vents. It is also important to make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and debris.
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