Maryland’s new smoke alarm law includes some requirements that took effect this year. One of our management companies, Ocean Point, Ltd. shared this helpful fact sheet with all of their community associations and unit owners. We hope it helps you too!
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?
- 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.
Purpose of the law
- 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 alarms should be placed on every level of the home and inside every bedroom.