BALTIMORE (WJZ) – A new law requiring a smoke detector on each level of a home is now in effect in Maryland.

The law requires that by January 1, 2018, a minimum of one smoke alarm is installed on every level of a home. Battery operated smoke alarms remain acceptable, but the law requires that the alarms be tamper proof and powered by long-life batteries, and possess hush button features to discourage unsafe removal.

“Installing smoke alarms in your house is one of the most important safety measures you can take to protect your family,” said Baltimore Fire Department Chief James E. Clack. “We are grateful for the General Assembly and Governor for passing a law to make the alarms installed in our homes more effective.”

Smoke alarms with traditional 9-volt batteries work well until the occupant activates the alarm while cooking and removes the battery to stop the noise, or disables the alarm to silence the low-battery alarm. As a result, disabled or missing smoke alarm batteries are discovered at the site of fatal fires in Maryland and across the United States.

In 2012, twelve individuals were lost in fires, down from 17 fire deaths in 2011. The 2012 numbers represent the fewest annual fire deaths on record in Baltimore.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Chief Clack launched an initiative in 2011 to offer free smoke alarms to residents.

Any resident in need of a working smoke alarm is asked to call 311, and within two hours firefighters will come to your home and install a new alarm.

The Fire Department distributed and installed more than 14,944 free smoke alarms since the start of the program through 311 requests and community sweeps. Smoke alarms with a 10-year lithium tamper-resistant battery are made available by federal grant funding and a grant from Baltimore Gas and Electric.


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