According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than one-third (38 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present. The updates to Maryland’s Smoke Alarm Law are part of a nationwide initiative to ensure new and replacement smoke alarms have the most successful technology available to keep your family safe in the event of a home fire.
The most recent provision of the law is that homeowners are required to replace battery-only operated smoke alarms with units powered by sealed-in, ten-year/long-life batteries with a “hush” feature. The law additionally states homeowners must upgrade smoke alarm placement in existing residential occupancies to comply with minimum specified standards. These standards vary corresponding to when the home was built. The deadline for complying with the new law is January 1, 2018.
Brendan Bonita, Fire Rescue Captain at the SSVFD, urges homeowners in Montgomery County to replace their smoke alarms (battery-operated and hard-wired) every 10 years.
Additionally, the date of construction of the home is crucial in determining what type of smoke alarms citizens are required to install in their homes and when. Under the new law, homes built before July 1, 1975 are required to replace battery-operated alarms with new, sealed, long-life smoke alarms equipped with a hush feature.
Homes built between July 1, 1975 and July 30, 1990 are required to replace smoke alarms installed during this period after 10 years of service with a battery back-up. Lastly, homes constructed after January 1, 1989 must have at least one hard-wired, AC-powered smoke alarm on each level of the home, and units are required to be interconnected so the activation of any of the smoke alarms results in the sounding of all of them.
It is critical that homeowners in Maryland comply with these updates to the Smoke Alarm Law by January 1, 2018.