TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The low battery warning from your smoke alarm always seems to happen when you're trying to sleep or at some other unwelcome moment.
Too many people pull out the batteries when that happens, according to retired firefighter and current Rep. Ed Hooper of Clearwater. So he's pushing legislation that would require long-life lithium batteries in new and replacement smoke alarms in Florida.
Hooper says these new generation units last at least ten years.
It's estimated 95 percent of homes have a smoke alarm, but studies show about 20 percent are not working.
Rep. Hooper says during his firefighting career, he saw many fire-damaged homes with smoke alarms that had no batteries or dead ones.
"People take the battery out so it will stop making noise in the middle of the night. They mean to a put a new one in but they forget and people die every day because their smoke alarm doesn't inform them that you need to get out."
Rep. Hooper says the new smoke alarms with ten-year batteries cost about $25 - a little more than traditional alarms.
That's the main criticism against the bill. People would have to pay more for the lithium-battery units.
But Hooper says if you replace the battery in a traditional alarm every year, as recommended, then you'll save money in the long run.
"This bill just means there's a new thing on the market that's inexpensively priced. It has a sealed, 10-year battery and it costs just a couple more dollars than the current 9-volt product and if you buy a new 9-volt battery every year at about $3 or $4 apiece, over ten years you just spent $40 on batteries plus the cost of the detector. This is something that's inexpensive, it saves lives. This is a really lifesaving bill and I hope that I can get it through the entire Legislature."
Studies show a working smoke alarm reduces the risk of death in a fire by up to 75 percent.
First Coast News