Common safety issues with smoke detectors in NYC housing

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2022 | Fire Cases - Smoke Detector Issues |

When you live in a rented space, the owner of that building is supposed to make sure that it is safe for you at all times. One way that they do this is by installing smoke detectors that can alert you if a fire breaks out in the building. This is especially important in multi-unit buildings because a fire can spread from one to the next and people in various units won’t even know that it has begun.

Unfortunately, a lot of landlords and supervisors often fail to properly maintain these smoke detectors. This can lead to tragic accidents where people cannot exit the building in time, where firefighters cannot get in or where people don’t get a warning until it is too late. Advance warning in a fire can save your life. Let’s look at why some of these issues occur.

The smoke detectors have dead batteries

If the smoke detectors are not wired and run on batteries, one of the most common problems is that the batteries have died. This is always the first thing to check and landlords should check the batteries whenever a new tenant enters the space.

The smoke detectors haven’t been maintained

As noted above, issues with maintenance are also often a problem. The landlord may have no idea if the smoke director still works. It’s also important to note that these often have an expiration date and need to be replaced at a certain point. If none of this has been done, you can’t necessarily trust the smoke detectors.

They’ve been placed improperly

Finally, landlords may mean well and then place the smoke detectors in locations where they won’t help. If the smoke doesn’t travel to that area, the smoke detector is not going to go off until the fire engulfs the building. Therefore, it’s important to have smoke detectors in all rooms and hallways, and to keep them up near the ceiling, at the level where the smoke will congregate. You don’t want to have anything that blocks them or insulates them from this condition. You also don’t want the detectors to be too low since smoke and heat are both going to rise.

Have you suffered injuries?

If you have been injured in a fire and you believe that issues with the smoke detectors contributed to those injuries, then it’s very important for you and your family to understand all the legal options at your disposal.