Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a lethal odorless and colorless gas that is unnoticeable to human senses. As of April 2010, The State of Wisconsin enacted a law requiring Carbon Monoxide detectors in multi-family residential buildings. When adopting the State Law into municipal codes and ordinances, the City of South Milwaukee extended the scope to commercial properties as well.

The law requires carbon monoxide detectors manufactured to UL 2034 standard in buildings where fossil fuel appliances are in use (Natural Gas, Fuel Oil, etc.). Generally the detectors are required by the State in the following locations:

  • In the basement of the building
  • In each unit in which a fossil fuel burning appliance exists
  • In hallways leading to units

Other Details

  • Because carbon monoxide mixes with air, the detectors may be placed anywhere from floor to ceiling in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendation. Detectors may be battery operated, hard-wired, or plugged into electrical outlets. The exterior packaging of the detector will indicate if the device is manufactured to the standards of UL 2034.
  • Before installation, verify specific placement requirements by consulting the State statute or contacting the Fire Inspection Bureau at 414-768-5724 during normal business hours.
  • The State has also passed a similar law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in single family homes and duplexes scheduled to take effect in February 2011.

10-Year Smoke Alarms

Research of the National Fire Protection Association has found that when deaths occur in fires, most could have been avoided had the victims been alerted the presence of fire by functioning smoke alarms. The same research found that the most common reasons a smoke alarm doesn't function are that the batteries are drained or missing. In an effort to avoid preventable deaths, the South Milwaukee Fire Department now requires the use of 10-Year Smoke alarms in multi-family residences and mixed-use occupancies.

A conforming smoke alarm will be hard-wired or contain a 10-year battery that is either sealed within the alarm or cannot be removed once installed. These alarms are required to be placed:

  • In each bedroom
  • In the hallway outside of bedroom areas
  • At the head of all stairways
  • In locations unique to the building as directed by the Fire Department

Location Requirements

Smoke fills a room from the ceiling down. The alarm will not sound until the smoke accumulates down to the level of the alarm. To assure that occupants are alerted immediately, alarms must be installed as high as possible. This is also the reason alarms are now required in each bedroom. If smoke is required to build up to the level where it can pass through doorways before it can reach a detector, the fire has already burned far too long for occupants to depend on a safe exit.