When was the last time you changed your smoke alarm? Not the battery – the alarm itself?
Just like any other electrical appliance, smoke alarms wear out over time. The Frederick and Montgomery County Departments of Fire and Rescue Services agree both battery-operated and hard-wired alarms should be replaced after 10 years of use.
If you’re due for a replacement smoke alarm you’ll want to make sure your new one complies with Maryland’s recently-updated Smoke Alarm Law. Effective July 1, 2013, the law requires that all battery-only alarms be powered with sealed-in, long-life batteries and have a “hush button” feature to temporarily silence the alarm.
“The technological advances of battery-operated residential smoke alarms combined with 10-year, long-life batteries offer a decade of protection,” said Montgomery County Fire Chief Steve Lohr. “Smoke alarms are one of the most important safety features to have in your home and while residents will have until January 1, 2018 to comply with the new law, we’re urging residents to upgrade their alarms now.”
While you’re thinking about your smoke alarms, make sure you have one installed in each of the following locations:
- In each sleeping area
- Outside each sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms
- On each story of the home, including the basement
According to research from the U. S. Fire Administration (PDF), no smoke alarms were present or they did not operate in nearly 75% of residences where a fire fatality occurred. By encouraging residents to replace their battery-operated smoke alarms with sealed units that feature long-life batteries, fire officials hope to increase the number of homes with fully functioning alarms and decrease the number of fire-related deaths.
If you can’t afford smoke alarms, contact your local fire department. They will provide and install them for you at no cost. Free strobe alarms are also available for deaf residents on a first come, first served basis. To request a strobe alarm, contact the Smoke Alarm Hotline at 301-600-7275 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bonus Content: Wonder how different types of smoke alarms work and which would be best for your home? Check out this guide from SimpliSafe.