Four years ago, the Maryland General Assembly amended and updated the existing thirty-eight year old Maryland Smoke Alarm Law to implement new technology. If you are a homeowner or residential landlord, you are required to comply with its regulations for upgrading smoke alarms by January 1, 2018. Consult with a licensed electrician regarding installation to ensure the safety of residents and that your alarms are in compliance with code.
Passed unanimously, Governor O’Malley signed Senate Bill 969 and House Bill 1413, and the law became effective on July 1, 2013. The new Maryland Smoke Alarm Law was intended to bring reliable smoke alarm coverage to older homes through new technology without requiring new wiring.
The goal was to replace current smoke alarms powered by 9-volt batteries because homeowners were removing the batteries to quiet the alarms when cooking or when the low battery chirp was activated. This resulted in numerous fires that resulted in lives lost.
Maryland believed the solution was sealed smoke alarms that have a “hush” feature, which temporarily silenced an alarm for a few minutes. This feature was automatically over-ridden in the event of fire, and the low-battery chirp was activated only at the end of its estimated 10-year service life.
Maryland requires that homeowners and residential landlords:
- Replace 9-volt battery only powered smoke alarms with smoke alarms that are sealed and powered by 10-year service life batteries with a silence or hush feature.
- Upgrade the placement of smoke alarms in existing residential occupancies for compliance with minimum standards, which vary according to when a building was built. Smoke alarms must be located outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home, including basements. For homes built since 1994, a smoke alarm is required inside every sleeping room. Fire officials recommend the installation of smoke alarms in sleeping rooms regardless of the year of construction for maximum protection. The deadline is January 1, 2018.
- Replace a smoke alarm when it is 10 years old from the date of manufacture. This is applicable to both hard-wired and battery-operated smoke alarms.
Electrical Peace of Mind
Providing professional electricians since 1988 in Maryland, Cook Electric is the company you can rely on for all your electrical service needs. For knowledgeable, fair, honest, reliable, and conscientious service, call Cook Electric today at (410) 266-9040. They will be very glad to help you.