The Maryland Smoke Alarm Law:Are You Affected?By Liz Burrow, Realtor®

Many buyers and sellers are confused about the Maryland smokealarm law that came into effect in 2018, and how to comply.Not being an expert on this subject, I reached out to one of myhome inspector associates, Ryan Payne, for his assistance inhighlighting the importance of this topic. Here is what he shared(in italics):As a professional fireman and a licensed home inspector, I’moften asked about smoke alarms. Residents want to knowif they’re adequately protected and if they are compliantwith the law that took effect in 2013. The Maryland SmokeAlarm Law requires the replacement of any battery onlysmoke alarm that is more than 10 years old with a new, 10-year sealed lithium battery.To understand the law better, it is good to know whyMaryland lawmakers felt this change was necessary. Two thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes with either nosmoke alarm or no working smoke alarm. The benefit ofsealed batteries in smoke alarms is that they’re practicallytamper resistant and do not require you to remember tochange batteries or to put them back in if you disconnect.Over time, building codes have changed and so have varioussafety requirements. The type and location of smoke alarmsare dictated by the year your home was constructed (see”Smoke Alarm Laws” on page 15).As a general rule of the thumb, use the following as aguideline for replacing the smoke alarms in your home.• If the smoke alarm is 10 years or older, it needs to bereplaced.• The date should be printed on the back of the alarm. Ifyou can’t see the date-assume that it’s time to change it.• It is important to note that these laws only pertainto smoke alarms where battery operated detectorscurrently exist or where no smoke alarms are present.• It is never acceptable to remove hardwired smokealarms and replace them with a battery only operateddevice.For those who are selling or buying homes, there is a documentwhich should be included in all home sale disclosures andexplains this in more detail. Take note that it states, “A seller whofails to comply with the law is subject to a fine, imprisonment,or both”.This is not a suggestion, it is the law, so if you are selling yourhome familiarize yourself with it, and make sure that you comply.More information regarding smoke alarms and the MarylandSmoke Alarm Law can be found on the following sites:• https://frederickcountymd.gov/2321/Smoke-Alarms• http://www.dllr.maryland.gov/labor/build/smokealarmlawfiremarshall.pd