New Law Requires Installation of 10-Year Smoke Alarms

Alarms with lithium or "long-life" batteries can go a decade before they need to be replaced.

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    Stamford fire officials are urging families to have two escape plans in case of fire.

    A new law makes the installation of so-called "10-year smoke alarms" a requirement for Maryland homes and apartments.

    Public safety officials from Prince George's County, along with the lieutenant governor, discussed the new law Monday.

    National statistics show 94 percent of American households have smoke detectors, but 30 percent of those alarms don't work. Additionally, most fire fatalities happen in homes that lack working alarms.

    Smoke alarm manufacturers recommend alarms be replaced every 10 years. The date your alarm was manufactured can be found on the back of the device. However, alarms with lithium or "long-life" batteries can go a decade before they need to be replaced. The sealed-in battery cannot and should not be changed, the U.S. Fire Administration says.

    Alarms with lithium batteries should also still be tested monthly.

    Under the new law, which goes into effect July 1, 2013, homes and apartments in the state must have the lithium-powered alarms by 2018. The alarms must also feature a "hush' function, which will quiet the alarm without removing the battery.

    Firefighters from the Capitol Heights Fire/EMS Station will visit homes near their firehouse Monday and install the new alarms.