About Maryland's Smoke Alarm Law
By Vice President / Lieutenant Scot Best
May 16, 2024

A Maryland smoke alarm law that took effect on January 1, 2018 changed residential smoke alarm requirements. The law is designed to reduce fire-related injuries and deaths. Make sure your home is as safe as possible by coming into compliance.

The law was designed to achieve the most reliable smoke alarm coverage possible in older dwellings without requiring homeowners to run new wiring. The law's overall purpose is reduction of fire deaths and injuries.

Studies of residential fire fatalities show that more than half of smoke alarms in these incidents failed to sound because the nine-volt battery had been removed. The sealed battery requirement eliminates that problem.

• Replacement of battery-only smoke alarms with new, 10-year smoke alarms with sealed batteries and a "hush" feature (to silence the alarm temporarily during cooking).
• Replacement of hardwired devices more than 10 years old. Hardwired devices newer than 10 years still are acceptable.
• Hard-wired devices must be replaced with hard-wired devices. You cannot replace a hard-wired alarm with a battery-only alarm.
• The law requires replacement of all smoke alarms—hard-wired and battery-only—when they are 10 years old. That means 10 years from the date of manufacture printed on the back of the alarm. Smoke alarms lose their operational sensitivity after 10 years. If you can't find a date, your smoke alarm needs to be replaced.
• Hard-wired devices must be replaced with hard-wired devices.
• Off-Site Monitored Alarms: Smoke alarms which are monitored by an off-site monitoring company are not affected by this law.

• Ridge VFD does not endorse one manufacturer over another.
• Smoke alarms are available at most home supply stores, "big box" retail stores, and at many online retailers.
• Alarms should comply with Underwriters Laboratory (UL) 217, "Standard for Safety for Single and Multiple Station Smoke Alarm."

• The law applies to rental properties.

• The local fire code does not grant right of entry into privately-owned single- and multi-family dwellings.

• Smoke alarms should be placed on every level of the home and inside every bedroom.

If you cannot afford to purchase smoke alarms or are physically unable to install a smoke alarm, the Ridge VFD can help! We would like to ensure every home in our coverage area has working smoke alarms. We will come visit your home and conduct a FREE Fire Safety Inspection and while we are there, we can install a free smoke alarm(s) in your home.

If your home does not have a working alarm, or the existing alarm is more than 10 years old, please contact us to request a FREE home Fire Safety Inspection, and to receive smoke alarm(s) installation. You can email (fire.prevention@ridgevfd.org) or call (301-872-5571) us directly.