A new state law regarding battery-powered smoke alarms and designed to reduce home fire deaths became effective January 1, 2018.

This law requires replacement of all smoke alarms (hard-wired and battery-only) when they are 10 years old. It also requires the replacement of all battery-powered smoke alarms with new, 10-year alarms with sealed-in batteries and a "hush" button feature.

Do not remove hard-wired smoke alarms and replace them with battery-operated smoke alarms of any kind. A 110-volt electrically powered smoke alarm may be replaced only with a new, 110-volt unit with battery backup.

The change also applies to properties in the County's rental registration program required by County law to have hard-wired smoke alarms.

Making Smoke Alarms Tamper Resistant

The change in law is designed to make smoke alarms tamper resistant. According to the Maryland State Fire Marshal, two-thirds of home fire deaths across the U.S. occur in homes that either do not have smoke alarms or that do not have working smoke alarms -- usually because the batteries have been removed. Sealing the battery inside the alarm means consumers do not have to remember to change the batteries and cannot remove them for other uses. Sealed-in, continuous use smoke alarms provide life-saving protection for a decade.

The new Maryland Smoke Alarm Law requires replacement of smoke alarms 10 years from the date of manufacture. The date should be printed on the back of the alarm. If no date is visible, replace the alarm.

Locating Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms should be placed on every level of the home and outside sleeping areas; e.g., in the hallways outside bedrooms.

Keep bedroom doors closed when sleeping to prevent smoke, toxic gases and flames from entering the room in case of fire.