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Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Requirements

Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm requirements for one- and two-family dwellings in Philadelphia The below smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm requirements relate to one- and two-family dwellings.

Carbon monoxide alarms are required by the Fire Code in one- and two-family dwellings and small (up to 16 residents, excluding

staff) assisted living facilities.  They are also required in enclosed parking garages by Health Department regulations.

 

Smoke Alarms (Overview)

Section 4603.7 of the Fire Code requires smoke alarms installed in one- and two-family dwellings.

 Location:

         One smoke alarm is required on each level (story) of a home. On levels with sleeping units (bedrooms) they must be installed in

      the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms.  In homes built on or after 1/1/1988 a smoke alarm is also required

      in each bedroom.  Smoke alarms can be mounted on the ceiling or wall.  When mounted on the ceiling, they should not be installed within 4

      inches of a wall or within 3 feet of an air register, bathroom door  or entrance to a kitchen. When mounted on a wall the top of the smoke alarm should be

      installed between within 4 and 12 inches from the ceiling and not  within 3 feet of an air register, bathroom door or entrance to a kitchen.

 Power Source:

         Homes built prior to 1/1/1988 are permitted to have battery smoke alarms powered by a 10-year, non-removable battery.  (10-year non-removable battery requirement - amendment to  Fire  Code, effective 11/27/12).

         Homes built on or after 1/1/1988 smoke alarms are required to be hard-wired, interconnected and connected to the building's power  supply.

 Maintenance of smoke alarms   See Section 4603.7.5 and the manufacturer's instructions.

 

Verification of smoke alarms upon sale of home  See Section 4603.7.4.

 Carbon Monoxide Alarms (overview)

Section 908.7 of the Fire Code (see attachment) requires carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in all one- and two-family dwellings and small assisted living facilities.

 Location:

      One CO alarm is required in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. Do not mount within five feet of a cooking appliance.  It can be mounted at any height since CO is approximately the same density as air. Mounted it at eye level makes testing and battery replacement easier.

 Power Source:

      Homes built on and after 2/17/10 are required to have hard-wired CO alarms. Homes built prior to 2/17/10 are permitted to have battery powered or

      plug-in type CO alarms. Maintenance of CO alarms  See Section 908.7.6 and the manufacturer's instructions. Verification of CO alarms upon sale of home

      See Section 908.7.9.

 

PHILADELPHIA FIRE CODE 2010 EDITION

SMOKE ALARMS
(R-1 – Hotel or motel, R-2 – Apartment building, R-3 – one- or two-family dwelling, R-4 – small assisted living facility – up to 16 residents, excluding staff)

4603.7 Single-and multiple-station smoke alarms. Single- and multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed in existing Group R occupancies and in dwellings not classified as Group R occupancies in accordance with Sections 4603.7.1 through 4603.7.3.

F-4603.7.1 Where required. Existing Group R occupancies and dwellings shall be provided with single-station smoke alarms. Installation shall be in accordance with Section 907.2.11, except as provided in this section and in Sections 4603.7.2 and 4603.7.3.

Exceptions:
1. Smoke alarms are not required in sleeping rooms in existing Group R-2 occupancies in high-rise buildings equipped throughout with an automatic fire extinguishing system.
2. Smoke alarms are not required in sleeping rooms in Group R-2 or R-3 occupancies in buildings built prior to January 1, 1988, and not classified as high-rise.
3. Where a smoke alarm installed in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms would result in its installation within 3 feet (914 mm) of a door to a bathroom or kitchen, installation beyond the immediate vicinity is permitted, provided that it does not exceed 15 feet (4572 mm) from all bedroom doors.

F-4603.7.2 Interconnection. Where more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling or sleeping unit, the smoke alarms shall be interconnected in such a manner that the activation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. The alarm shall be clearly audible in all bedrooms over background noise levels with all intervening doors closed.

Exceptions:
1. Interconnection is not required in buildings built prior to January 1, 1988, that are not undergoing alterations, repairs or construction of any kind.
2. Smoke alarms in existing areas of buildings built prior to January 1, 1988, are not required to be interconnected where repairs do not result in the removal of interior wall or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space or basement available which could provide access for interconnection without the removal of interior finishes.

F-4603.7.3 Power source. Single-station smoke alarms shall receive their primary power from the building wiring provided that such wiring is served from a commercial source and shall be equipped with a battery backup. Smoke alarms with integral strobes that are not equipped with battery backup shall be connected to an emergency electrical system. Smoke alarms shall emit a signal when the batteries are low. Wiring shall be permanent and without a disconnecting switch other than as required for overcurrent protection.

Exceptions:
1. Smoke alarms are permitted to be solely battery operated in existing buildings built prior to January 1, 1988, where no construction is taking place.
2. Smoke alarms are permitted to be solely battery operated in buildings that are not served from a commercial power source.
3. Smoke alarms are permitted to be solely battery operated in existing areas of buildings built prior to January 1, 1988, undergoing alterations or repairs that do not result in the removal of interior walls or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space or available which could provide access for building wiring without the removal of interior finishes.

F-4603.7.4 Verification of smoke alarms upon sale of building. Upon the sale of a building containing a Group R-3 occupancy, the seller shall certify in writing to the buyer that smoke alarms required by Section 4603.7 are installed and in proper operating condition.

F-4603.7.5 Testing and maintenance of smoke alarms. Smoke alarms, both battery powered and hard wired, shall be tested, inspected and maintained in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. They shall be tested weekly.

F-4603.7.5.1 Responsibility. Occupants shall be responsible for the testing and battery replacement of battery-powered smoke alarms within their dwelling units. Owners shall be responsible for the repair or replacement of non-operating smoke alarms within three days of written notice.


CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
(R-3 – one- or two-family dwelling, R-4 – small assisted living facility – up to 16 residents, excluding staff)

F-908.7 Carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide alarms, capable of detection and alarm, shall be installed and maintained, in accordance with the provisions of this section, in any new or existing building with a Group R-3 or Group R-4 occupancy where one or more fossil fuel or wood burning appliances is installed in the building or where a garage is attached to the building. For purposes of this section, a new Group R-3 or Group R-4 occupancy includes any newly constructed building within such classification or any existing building where the classification is changed to an R-3 or R-4 occupancy.

F-908.7.1 Definition of fossil fuel burning appliance. A fossil fuel burning appliance is any appliance or equipment that uses a fuel that produces, among other things, carbon monoxide during the combustion (burning) process. Examples of types of fossil fuel include, but are not limited to coal, charcoal, kerosene, building heating oil, natural (methane) gas and liquefied petroleum gas, such as propane. Examples of fossil fuel burning appliances include, but are not limited to, building heaters, portable kerosene heaters, fireplaces, wood burning stoves, cooking appliances, hot water heaters, or dryers that use one of the fossil fuels.

F-908.7.2 Standards. Every carbon monoxide alarm shall bear the label of a nationally recognized standard testing laboratory, such as Underwriter's Laboratories, indicating that it is appropriate for its intended use. Combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms shall be permitted.

F-908.7.3 Location. A carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed within 15 feet (4572 mm) of the entrance to every bedroom or within 15 feet (4572 mm) of a bed in sleeping areas where there is no enclosed bedroom. It shall be centrally located on a wall or the ceiling, but not directly in front of a door to a bathroom or within 5 feet (1524 mm) of a cooking appliance, to prevent false alarms. (Mounting the alarm at eye level accommodates reading the digital display, if the device is so equipped, and changing batteries.) If the alarm is a combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, it shall be located in accordance with the installation requirements for smoke alarms.

F-908.7.4 Power source. In all Group R-3 and Group R-4 occupancies, carbon monoxide alarms shall be hard-wired (receiving power from building electricity) and fed from an unswitched portion of a branch circuit. All hard-wired alarms shall have a battery back-up in the event of a power failure. Where more than one hard-wired carbon monoxide alarm is required to be installed in a dwelling unit, rooming unit or sleeping area, the alarms shall be interconnected in such a manner that the activation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit or throughout the Group R-3 or Group R-4 occupancy. The alarm shall be clearly audible in all bedrooms over background noise levels with all intervening doors closed.

Exception: In existing Group R-3 and Group R-4 occupancies, carbon monoxide alarms may be powered by batteries or be plug-in types of alarms powered by building electricity and are not required to be interconnected.

F-908.7.5 Information to tenants. Building owners, having tenants in the building, shall post a notice in a common area of the building informing tenants that the owner of the building is required by law to supply and install carbon monoxide alarms in accordance with Section 908 of the Philadelphia Fire Code, and shall provide at least one tenant per dwelling unit or rooming unit with a copy of the manufacturer's instructions for the alarm to ensure that tenants understand the purpose of carbon monoxide alarms, how they operate and appropriate action to take when an alarm sounds.

F-908.7.6 Installation and maintenance of carbon monoxide alarms. Building owners shall supply and install carbon monoxide alarms. Tenants of a building, or the owner, if a building has no tenants, shall be responsible for the periodic testing and replacement of any batteries for alarms within their dwelling or rooming units, except that the owner shall ensure that the batteries are in operating condition at the time the tenant takes possession of the unit. Tenants shall be responsible for notifying the building owner when an alarm is damaged, not operating properly or missing. Carbon monoxide alarms shall be tested in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, at least once monthly. When such alarms are powered by batteries, the batteries shall be replaced in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and shall not exceed 12 months of use. Alarms indicating low power or having no power shall have the batteries replaced within 2 days.

F-908.7.7 Replacement. The building owner shall replace a carbon monoxide alarm with a new alarm within 30 days of notice that the alarm is damaged, not operating properly or missing. All carbon monoxide alarms shall automatically be replaced by the building owner at the expiration of the manufacturer's life expectancy period as indicated in the manufacturer's instructions or on the back of the device.

F-908.7.8 Tampering, abuse or removal of carbon monoxide alarms. It shall be unlawful for any person to tamper with, damage, render inoperable, or remove and not replace a carbon monoxide alarm required under this section.
F-908.7.9 Verification of carbon monoxide alarms upon sale of building. Upon sale of a building containing a Group R-3 or R-4 occupancy, the seller shall certify to the buyer that carbon monoxide alarms required by Section 908.7 are installed and in proper operating condition.

2010 PFC Smoke & CO Alarms