October 17, 2018
Politics & Opinion
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Maryland Adopts New Law Regarding Smoke Alarms

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January 10, 2018

The January 1 implementation of the Maryland smoke-alarm law has generated many citizen inquiries. The following information regarding Maryland law is provided to assist with answering questions. Fire department personnel are frequently the only smoke-alarm “experts” the general public will meet and speak with.

The intent of the new smoke-alarm law was to transition away from smoke alarms with 9-volt batteries and to achieve as much reliable smoke-alarm coverage as possible in older dwellings. Smoke-alarm technology has advanced over the years, and the updates to Maryland’s laws are part of a nationwide trend to ensure that new and replacement smoke alarms have the most effective technology available.

The new law heavily emphasizes the use of sealed smoke alarms with long-life batteries and silence/hush buttons. However, it is critical to understand that these devices are appropriate only where battery-operated smoke alarms presently exist as permitted by code or in locations where no smoke alarms are present. It is never acceptable to remove required hard-wired smoke alarms and replace them with any battery-only operated device.

The Maryland law requires the following:

·         Replace battery-only operated smoke alarms with units powered by sealed in, 10-year/long-life batteries with a “silence/hush” feature.

·         Upgrade smoke-alarm placement in existing residential occupancies to comply with minimum specified standards. These standards vary according to when the building was constructed.

·         Replacement of all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old. This applies to both hard-wired and battery-operated smoke alarms.

Need Help?

Every day in the United States, 1,500 homes catch on fire. Each year, 4,500 people die and 280,000 are injured in residential fires. The majority of fire deaths occur at night, while everyone is asleep.

The fire department, through a partnership with the Anne Arundel Fire Safety Foundation, can provide assistance to any citizen who cannot afford to purchase a fire alarm or needs help installing one.

If you have any questions about smoke alarms or need assistance, call 410-222-8303 for help.

Smoke alarms can be provided for free and will be installed by fire department personnel. When available, state and federal grants are used to provide visual smoke alarms for the hearing-impaired.

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