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Fire Safety Update! What is UL8?

Fire alarms are changing. UL 217 8th Edition represents the most significant update of manufacturing standards in many years. Any smoke or combination alarms manufactured after June 30, 2024, must meet new UL8 standards for improved smoke sensing, delivering earlier warnings, and reducing nuisance alarms.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) released the latest update to their fire safety standards for smoke and combination alarms. Based on careful study of modern fire hazards and real-world safety concerns, UL 217 8th Edition represents the most significant update of manufacturing standards for smoke alarms in nearly two decades.

Why were the UL standards updated?

Research into environmental factors affecting fire safety concluded that modern construction, building materials, and fabrics contribute to significantly reduce how much time people have to escape during a home fire.

Fire safety industry experts, including researchers at UL, created new performance standards for alarms and building materials to address these concerns.

What are the expected benefits of the 8th Edition update of UL 217?

Equipment designed and manufactured to meet or exceed the UL8 standards will deliver three key benefits multifamily owners, managers, and residents will appreciate, including:

  • Improved Smoke Sensing Technology: Photoelectric sensing will more effectively detect slow, smoldering fires.
  • Earlier Warnings: Increased sensitivity allows smoke alarms to detect even smaller particles, leading to earlier, more accurate warnings.
  • Reduced Nuisance Alarms: Alarm systems have been calibrated to reduce false alarms caused by cooking-related smoke or steam and to provide clear end-of-life signals.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nuisance alarms are the #1 reason people disable smoke alarms in their residence. This decision can lead to tragedy. Nearly 3 out of 5 home fire deaths happen because there is no working smoke alarm in the home.

What equipment will be impacted?

The new standards apply to smoke and combination smoke/carbon dioxide alarms.

What are the deadlines for these standards?

All smoke and combination alarms manufactured after June 30, 2024, must meet the new standards. Items on hand at suppliers and retailers that were manufactured prior to the deadline may continue to be sold and installed.

What about currently installed smoke alarms?

Currently installed smoke and combination alarms will continue to offer quality protection through their standard lifespan. Most current smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years.

Who is the organization responsible for these new standards?

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a globally recognized safety research company and one of the largest and oldest independent testing labs based in the United States. UL evaluates more than 19,450 types of products, leading to 21 billion UL Marks going to market. The company also audits compliance through more than 600,000 inspections each year.

UL’s researchers test and compile facts about fire safety equipment being used in modern homes. They developed standards based on those findings. Products certified by UL have gone through rigorous testing and have met specific, research-based safety standards.

UL 217 8th Edition Delivers

More effective and reliable
Improved smoke detection
Earlier warnings
Reduced nuisance alarms

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