New Maryland Smoke Detector Law - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Maryland Smoke Detector Law

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- A new law approved by Gov. Martin O'Malley is designed to make Maryland homes a little safer.  Starting July 1, battery-operated smoke detectors will be required to be run by lithium batteries with a 10-year life.  The law requires homes in Maryland to have the new smoke detectors installed by 2018.

Salisbury Fire Department officials said the number of homes that catch fire in the city and do not have a working smoke detector is climbing.

"Those incidences are on the rise, we know that.  And they are generally a tragedy because they don't alert the occupants in time," said Salisbury Fire Chief Rick Hoppes.

Along with the lithium battery, the new smoke detectors will have a hush feature.  It will allow people to silence the alarm without removing the battery.  The chief said the longevity and reliability of the new alarms could help save lives.

"It just becomes one of those silent watch dogs for us that are just always on duty," Hoppes said.

Firefighters said that while the new detectors certainly can make homes safer, it can also make their jobs a little safer as well.

"If we arrive at a fire and we don't know that the occupants are out of the house, we can't put out the fire, we have to search for the occupants," said Salisbury Firefighter Eric Cramer. "If we get there and the smoke detector has alerted them and they are outside, we don't have to do that. We can put water on the fire and the fire goes out and everyone goes home."

Fire officials also said that while the batteries are supposed to last longer, people should still check the smoke detectors regularly to make sure they are operating.

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