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Official News Blog of Baltimore County police, fire, homeland security and emergency management. Call 911 to report crimes in progress and emergencies.
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BCoFD has heard from many residents with questions about Maryland's new smoke alarm law, which was signed in 2013 but includes some requirements that just took effect on January 1, 2018. This fact sheet is designed to clarify this regulation and what it means for you.

What the law requires now

  • Replacement of battery-only smoke alarms with new, 10-year smoke alarms with sealed batteries and a "hush" feature (to silence the alarm temporarily during cooking).
  • Replacement of hardwired devices more than 10 years old. Hardwired devices newer than 10 years still are acceptable.
  • Hard-wired devices must be replaced with hard-wired devices. You cannot replace a hard-wired alarm with a battery-only alarm.

What the law requires in the future

  • The law requires replacement of ALL smoke alarms -- hard-wired and battery-only -- when they are 10 years old. That means 10 years from the date of manufacture printed on on the back of the alarm. If you can't find a date, your smoke alarm needs to be replaced.
  • Smoke alarms lose their operational sensitivity after 10 years.
  • Hard-wired devices must be replaced with hard-wired devices.

What brand of alarm should I buy?

  • BCoFD does not endorse one manufacturer over another.
  • Smoke alarms are available at most home supply and "big box" retail stores and at many online retailers.
  • Alarms should comply with Underwriters Laboratory (UL) 217, "Standard for Safety for Single and Multiple Station Smoke Alarm."

What about rental properties?

  • The new law applies to rental properties.
  • However, the new requirements do not impact individuals in the County’s rental registration program because the County’s rental registration provisions do not permit battery-operated smoke detector units and require hard-wired smoke detectors.

Enforcement

  • The local fire code does not grant right of entry into privately-owned single- and multi-family dwellings.

Purpose of the law

  • The law was designed to achieve the most reliable smoke alarm coverage possible in older dwellings without requiring homeowners to run new wiring.
  • The law's overall purpose is reduction of fire deaths and injuries.
  • Studies of residential fire fatalities show that more than half of smoke alarms in these incidents failed to sound because the 9-volt battery had been removed. The sealed battery requirement eliminates that problem.

Placement of smoke alarms   Smoke alarm location

Baltimore County Police Detective Michael Aiosa received the 2017 Exceptional Police Performance Award (from agencies with over 125 officers) from the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association. Detective Aiosa is currently assigned to the Department’s Criminal Investigations Bureau as a part of the Maryland Financial Crimes Task Force under the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigations Division. His tireless work netted the arrest of several individuals involved in a complex fraud scheme and a restitution order from the U.S. District Court, District of Maryland.

Detective Aiosa led an investigation, along with assistance from the IRS, into a six-year scheme in which the suspects created false business, tax, and financial documents. These documents were used to obtain loans from financing companies to purchase automobiles from area car dealerships. After purchasing the car under the guise of being qualified for the loan, the suspects created a false title for the car, concealing the existence of the loan. Using the false title, the suspects would sell the cars and pocket the money from the sale. Detective Aiosa was able to determine that the scheme incurred at least a $1.2 million cost upon several car dealerships and lending institutions.

Detective Aiosa’s investigation led to the identification and indictment of three individuals for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and aiding and abetting. All three individuals were found guilty after being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland. The leader of the three was sentenced to eight years in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $692,587.63.

Great work Detective Aiosa and congratulations!

Maryland is one of 22 states scheduled to participate tomorrow, February 24, in a national test of the Emergency Alert System. The test is scheduled to occur at 2:20 p.m. (Eastern).

The test will assess readiness for distribution of national emergency messages. County residents may hear and see the following on participating radio and television stations: "This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test."

The test is conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Additional information about the Public Alert and warning System and Wireless Emergency Alerts is available through FEMA or www.ready.gov.

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017