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I installed hard-wired and interconnected smoke alarms through the house. I wondered, though, if a fire spread through my attic I might not know about it until the ceiling or roof collapsed.

Should I install an interconnected alarm in the attic?

Is there some reason this isn't required/recommended?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

FEMA writes:

Few, if any, smoke alarms are Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-listed for use in the temperature extremes an attic can experience. Few, if any, codes require alarms in one- and two- family residential attics where nearly all (90 percent) of attic fires occur.

“Attic Fires in Residential Buildings”, Topical Fire Report Series 11(6), January 2011

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only 90% of attic fires occur in the attic? –  Steven Dec 10 '12 at 20:24
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@Steven, 90% of attic fires occur in one- and two-family residential attic. The remaining 10% occur in the attics of other kinds of buildings. –  Vebjorn Ljosa Dec 10 '12 at 20:27
    
Given this data, it surprises me that attic alarms are not required. –  Matthew Dec 10 '12 at 21:33
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@MatthewPK, “Residential building attic fires […] comprise [only] approximately 2 percent of all residential building fires.” (same source) –  Vebjorn Ljosa Dec 11 '12 at 10:31
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Now Smoke & Heat Detector is used for fire alarm.

NFPA 72, 2010 Edition, Chapter 29, Section 29.5.1 Required Detection, states the following:

29.5.1.1 Where required by other governing laws, codes, or standards for a specific type of occupancy, approved single and multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed as follows:
(1) In all sleeping rooms and guest rooms
(2) Outside of each separate dwelling unit sleeping area, within 6.4 m (21 ft) of any door to a sleeping room, the distance measured along a path of travel
(3) On every level of a dwelling unit, including basements
(4) On every level of a residential board and care occupancy (small facility), including basements and excluding crawl spaces and unfinished attics
(5) In the living area(s) of a guest suite
(6) In the living area(s) of a residential board and care occupancy (small facility)

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I'm guessing this was downvoted because, while pertaining to smoke detectors in general, it doesn't answer the question explictly. I think if you did a prologue highlighting that section 4 Excludes unfinished attics, it would improve your answer. Also, a citation of WHERE in CODE this is found (a brand reference does not give a universal requirement) –  HerrBag Feb 28 '13 at 14:14
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