Your relationship with your smoke alarm is changing and there’s important information everyone needs to know. Maryland is the most recent state to require that battery-only operated smoke alarms be equipped with sealed-in, 10-year lithium batteries. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2013.
Maryland’s new law is part of a nation-wide trend to ensure new and replacement smoke alarms have this new technology. It is anticipated that smoke alarms with long-life batteries will have a significant impact on reducing the number of residential fire fatalities, which stands at approximately 2,600 people annually.
Currently, two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in residences with no smoke alarm or no working smoke alarm, primarily due to dead or missing batteries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Smoke alarms with sealed-in 10-year batteries are tamperproof and eliminate the need to replace the battery – something many homeowners fail to do.
Recognizing the difference it can make, one Maryland fire department is providing the new smoke alarms to its entire community. Capitol Heights Fire Station 805 of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department is using a federal grant to install 10-year smoke alarms to all residents within their primary response area. Firefighters from the station will begin visiting homes within the area on May 20, 2013 to install the alarms.
“This unique effort by the firefighters in Capitol Heights will help keep the community and our firefighters safe,” said Chief Ron Siarnicki, executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. “Through the Foundation’s Be A Hero, Save A HeroSM program we work with fire departments and our partners to educate the public about fire prevention and fire safety. Fewer firefighters need to be in harm’s way when residents have already evacuated a burning home.”
The NFFF and Kidde have partnered through the Be A Hero, Save A HeroSM program to provide 10-year smoke alarms to other communities and to educate consumers about the alarms. To learn more and to take the Be A Hero, Save A HeroSM pledge, go to www.beaherosaveahero.org/alarm-pledge. Similarly, The United States Fire Administration encourages the public to become more active in fire prevention and safety through its “Fire is Everyone’s Fight™” program.
Kidde Fire Safety (Kidde) is the leading manufacturer of residential fire safety products, including the 10-year sealed lithium battery operated smoke alarm. “Alarms with sealed-in long-life batteries are always on, ready to provide warning in the event of a fire,” said Neal Zipser, community affairs manager of Kidde. “On average, you only have three minutes to escape a fire, so these alarms offer families the chance to escape quickly and safely. By being able to escape, the risks firefighters face will also be reduced as they will work on controlling the fire rather than extracting residents.”