New Smoke Alarm Law Effective January 1, 2018
By MSFA Fire Prevention Committee Member Debbie Gartrell
December 27, 2017

Effective January 1, 2018, a new law intended to save more lives will go in affect in Maryland. It’s part of a nationwide trend to transition from old smoke alarms powered by 9-volt batteries to new smoke alarms that have a 10-year life span.

Maryland is the most recent state to require the more modern alarms which are tamper-resistant and last for 10 years without the battery needing to be replaced.

Replacing batteries in old smoke alarms can fall by the wayside, meaning smoke alarms can be left not working.

The newer smoke alarms also come with a hush button, so if you set it off while cooking, you can temporarily silence the alarm.

An old Maryland law that took effect on July 1, 2013, required the old smoke alarms to be replaced when they were 10 years old. The date the smoke alarm was manufactured should be on the back of the unit. If a date can’t be found on the unit, then the smoke alarm is most likely more than 10 years old.

In 2013, the Maryland General Assembly basically amended and updated a 38-year-old smoke alarm law in order to take advantage of the newer technology.
Even though the new law contains some of the same language as the 2013 law, which states 10-year old smoke alarms should be replaced, lawmakers say that was on purpose in order to re-publicize the message to replace 10-year-old smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms in apartments and rental homes are the responsibility of management or the landlord.

Won’t you be an advocate for fire safety in your home and upgrade your smoke alarms to the new sealed 10-year lithium battery units?

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