BALTIMORE (WJZ)– With the start of the new year, several Maryland laws went into effect.
One of them requires home owners to replace older smoke detectors. The Maryland smoke alarm law aims to prevent loss of life.
The deadline to comply with the smoke alarm law that was passed five years ago was Monday. Officials say every minute without making a switch is a risk.
Baltimore had 28 fire deaths in 2017. The year started with a deadly blaze that killed six of nine children in the Malone family.
The year ended with the heart breaking fire that killed Alicia Evans and her two daughters, Amani and Layla.
“If they have 9-volt batteries, then they are not the ones to have,” said Baltimore Fire Dept. spokesperson Blair Skinner.
Authorities say all alarms more than 10 years old should be replaced.
The law requires all Maryland residents to have temper-resistant smoke alarms with a 10-year lithium battery, on each floor of their home.
Baltimore City residents can get them for free by calling 311. They can also be purchased.
Falkenhan’s Hardware’s owner Debora Falkehan says the upgrade comes with peace of mind.
“Because most people don’t remember to change the battery in their smoke alarm,” Falkehan said.
If a fire official finds a home without the proper smoke detector, an installation order can be issued. Failure to comply within five days, could cost you. The penalty is up to 10 days in jail, a $1000 fine or both.
Some have already made the switch.
“I definitely believe that I made my neighborhood a lot safer,” said home owner Hideo Williams. “You have to be aware that change is necessary. So just make the change.”
Officials say if you call 311, some one from the fire department will be at your home, within two hours to install the alarm.
Landlords are responsible for upgrading smoke detectors in their rental properties.