Monday is the deadline to comply with a new Maryland law aimed at reducing home fire deaths.
The state law went into effect on July 1, 2013, and requires the replacement of any battery-only operated smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old. Homeowners are required to install an alarm that has a sealed-in battery with a 10 year life by Jan. 1, 2018.
Officials said nationally, two thirds of all home fire deaths occur when there is no smoke alarm or a smoke alarm with missing or disconnected batteries. By requiring a sealed unit, it becomes tamper resistant, and residents don’t have to try to remember to change the batteries.
They said the requirement does not apply to wired smoke alarms.
“The importance of ensuring the proper maintenance and use of smoke alarms is paramount,” said State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci. “The materials used in products we keep in our homes tend to burn much more readily, thus giving us a very limited window of time to escape the effects of fire. These early warning devices can be the difference between life or death in an incident of an uncontrolled fire inside our homes.”
The new Maryland law requires the replacement of smoke alarms when they are 10 years old. Officials said the date of manufacture should be printed on the back of the alarm.