Single Station Battery Powered Smoke Alarms

Q: I am having trouble with locating in the 2000 edition of the Life Safety Code where single station battery powered smoke alarms are being addressed for maintenance. I know they are supposed to be in compliance with the manufacturer’s specifications, but the LSC does not really address this. I would greatly appreciate any input on this you can give me.

A: I would say that section of the 2000 LSC does address this issue, as single-station smoke alarms are considered part of the fire alarm system, even if the device is not connected by wire to the fire alarm control panel. Where the codes and standards are not specific, the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) has to make an interpretation on how the devices should be maintained.

I would say a single-station smoke alarm must meet all the requirements of NFPA 72, and NFPA 72 (1999 edition), Table 7-3.2, line 15(h) says “All Smoke Detectors” must be tested annually. This would include single-station battery powered smoke alarms as well. Taking this a bit further, looking at Table 10.4.3 of NFPA 72 (2002 edition), line 15(j) says “Single and multiple station smoke alarms” must be tested annually. Whether or not the battery powered single-station smoke alarm is required by the Life Safety Code, section says the mere fact that it is there, the organization must maintain it.