are smoke detectors required in storage rooms

If you don’t know when are smoke detectors required in storage rooms, you should definitely read this guide to understand whether you need one or not.

Smoke detectors are fairly cheap for the service and time that will function and enhance security.

In case you’re wondering whether you need to install one in your storage room you’ll need to know the IFC and NFPA regulations that we’ll later discuss.

A smoke detector is required in storage rooms with higher constant temperatures and commercial environments without an automatic sprinkler system. The contents of the storage room are also important when it comes down to a smoke detector necessary.

The Purpose Of Smoke Detectors?

purpose smoke detectors

In short, the smoke detectors can detect fire particles, which triggers them above their threshold.

They will ring an alarm with the purpose alert your or someone nearby to call 911.

Most smoke detectors are battery-operated and they don’t need to be plugged into an electrical outlet.

That provides the perfect opportunity for users to strengthen the security of their storage room and prevent a fire hazard.

Smoke detectors are often found in high-traffic areas and in storage rooms with flammable items.

Alert: Smoke detector's alarm volume cannot be changed. Any temper attempt is considered a criminal activity following penalties.

Are Smoke Detectors Required In Storage Rooms?

requirements storage room

According to the initiation point in the fire alarm International Fire code, smoke detectors are required in storage rooms.

Approved fire detectors should be installed in storage regardless of the room’s contents, ventilation, or size.

Automatic smoke detectors should be installed by any means in buildings that do not have automatic sprinkler systems, which also prevent the fire from spreading.

To understand better whether a smoke detector is required in your storage room, check the IFC exceptions list.

IFC Exceptions

The Internation Fire Code explains a few exceptions, where smoke detectors are not required.

There are storage rooms that might fall under some of these exceptions so users need to be aware when smoke detectors are not required.

  1. In areas with automatic sprinkler systems installed.
  2. Under this category also falls areas used solely for worship purposes.
  3. Assembly environment inside Group E, which contain fire-alarm systems installed.
  4. Buildings with an occupational load of less than 1,000 with the fire-sprinkler system.
Note: The smoke detector's alarm should be loud and audible.

What Storage Room Should Have Smoke Detector?

Since storage rooms can contain pretty much anything, the conditions for installing a smoke detector are different.

The smoke detector’s necessity is determined by two factors – the room’s temperature and room contents.

storage room types

When the storage room’s temperature is regularly frequently near 38°C (100°F), especially during the summer, smoke detectors should be installed.

Here are some examples:

  • Collection storage rooms
  • Clothes storage rooms
  • Electrical storage room
  • Rooms with paper

Smoke detectors also find application in outdoor areas such as construction sites, backyards, and house terraces. In unheated environments such as bathrooms and near fans/vents.

Tip: Never install a smoke detector above a cooking appliance to prevent constant false alarms.

How Many Smoke Detectors Are Required In Storage Room?

how many smoke detectors

How many smoke detectors to install in a storage room depends on the room’s size and contents.

Larger Rooms:

Larger storage rooms with piles of flammable contents require at least 2 smoke detectors positioned at a suspected and suitable location.

Small Rooms:

In contrast, storage rooms under a occupant load can be protected by a single smoke detector.

Other Options:

Storage rooms with a lot of paper or cardboard can be endangered during the hot seasons especially when the temperature exceeds 38°C (100°F).

In such cases, the smoke detector count should increase respectively with the room’s size.

Note: Having two smoke detectors provides a backup in case one unit's batteries wear out.

Where To Install Smoke Detectors In Storage Room?

The best place to install a smoke detector is on the ceiling. This is because the fire smoke goes to the ceiling and this is where it spreads across the entire length.

In case a fire starts in the room where the smoke detector is installed, the alarm threshold will be reached even when installed on the other side of the room.

When using a single smoke detector, the best installation point on the ceiling remains in the center or near the middle.

This would be the fastest way for your smoke detector to sound the alarm whenever something inside the storage room is burning.

Smoke Detector Location Requirements

requirements detectors

Since your smoke detector won’t call the fire department automatically the fire alarm should be heard by a person.

This is why the location of the smoke detector should consider the audibility according to the position of the device.

Here are the most common places to install a smoke detector:

  • Near corridors
  • Close to the door
  • Under Stairways

Most smoke detectors have a TEST button or users can simply trigger the alarm by producing some smoke under the device.

Such a test performance will help you understand whether the position of your alarm is good and if it can be heard by areas with a presence in the building.

Note: Smoke detectors installed on walls are less effective than units attached to the ceiling.

Where Are Smoke Detectors Required In Commercial Building?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), hardwired fire detectors should be installed on every story of a commercial building.

In addition, a smoke detector should be installed in every stairwell or hallway in close proximity to assembly areas or cooking appliances.

Here is how smoke detector location can be prioritized:

  1. Near assembly areas
  2. In a high-temperature environments
  3. Near kitchens and cooking sites
  4. Around mechanical & electrical machines
  5. In corridors and stairwells
  6. Above registries
The battery-operated smoke detectors can be an addition to the hardwired units in areas where easily-flammable objects are stored.

In addition, the hardwired smoke detectors in commercial buildings need to be installed in environments exceeding 38°C (100°F).

Does Every Room Need A Smoke Detector?

smoke detector every room

Not every environment requires smoke detectors. In general rooms with a regular temperature of under 4°C (39.2°F).

That also includes unheated environments, bathrooms, storage rooms in permanently cold areas, and wet environments.

Smoke detectors are recommended but not mandatory required for households. 

Families should have installed at least one smoke detector, nearby their kitchens, which is one of the most common environments in which a fire could start.

Smoke detectors should also not be installed in rooms where smoking cigarettes or cigars is a common practice.

The cigar smoke will surely surpass the smoke detector threshold, triggering constant false alarms.

Note: Smoke detectors should not be installed in “dead air” spaces where smoke can hardly reach.

Read Next: How Often To Change Smoke Detector Batteries?

Quick Recap:

The smoke detectors are required in storage rooms with regular temperatures exceeding 38°C (100°F). Storage rooms in buildings without automatic sprinkler systems require at least one battery-operated smoke detector location in an audible place.

Last Thoughts:

Now when you know when are smoke detectors required in storage rooms you can easily determine whether you need one or not.

It’s recommended to check if the building has an inbuild fire-alarm system and understands better what’s the situation.

For users concerned about their storage rooms, it’s always better to invest in a smoke detector for e peace of mind and stronger security.

Nicole B