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Maryland’s New Smoke Alarm Law

 

It may be time to replace your smoke alarm, particularly if you live in the state of Maryland. In an effort to reduce residential fire fatalities, Maryland passed a new state law that requires homeowners to replace battery-only smoke detectors with long–life battery alarms equipped with a silence feature. Effective June 1, 2013, smoke alarms must be constructed with a sealed-in, 10-year battery. In addition, Maryland’s new smoke alarm law requires new alarms to contain a hush button, giving users the option to temporarily silence an alarm that may be triggered while cooking or in a similar non-emergency situation.

What Maryland’s New Smoke Alarm Law Means

Two-thirds of fire fatalities occur in homes where the smoke alarm’s battery was removed or disconnected, or where a smoke alarm had never been installed. In a recent news release by Kidde United Technologies, Bruce Bouch, Maryland Deputy State Fire Marshal, explained the importance of the new law. “By sealing the battery inside the alarm, the unit becomes tamper resistant and removes the burden from consumers to remember to change batteries, which will save lives,” he said. The new technology gives homeowners an entire decade of worry-free protection.

Who is Affected?

Maryland’s new smoke alarm law affects homeowners with existing battery-operated smoke alarms. The new law requires residents to replace units that are more than 10 years old with new units powered by a sealed-in, 10-year battery. The law also affects first-time smoke alarm buyers who will need to purchase alarms that conform to the new smoke alarm standards. New home buyers will need to check the date on alarms to be sure they are in compliance.

Best Products for Compliance

Homeowners who need to comply with Maryland’s new smoke alarm law should read product features carefully to make sure the 10-year batteries are sealed-in. Units range from $15 to $50. Kidde’s long-life ionization battery powered unit with smart hush, and First Alert’s 10-year sealed lithium powercell are both designed with 10-year sealed in or tamper-resistant features. BRK also offers several long-life lithium powered smoke alarms.

It is estimated that consumers will save roughly $40 in battery replacement costs over the life of the smoke alarm. The new technology comes with recommendations by Maryland’s State Fire Marshal’s Office, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as well as the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM). Anyone with a battery-only smoke alarm will be safer replacing it with a new smoke alarm constructed with the new safety features.