Governor Larry Hogan proclaims October 9-15, 2016 as Fire Prevention Week and urges all citizens of Maryland to join in and support this observance. It’s time for Fire Prevention Week, and from October 9-15 the Office of the State Fire Marshal is joining forces with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) and fire departments throughout the State to remind residents that ‘Don’t Wait, Check the Date. Replace Smoke Alarms Every Ten Years.’ During this year’s fire safety campaign, fire departments will be spreading the word about the dangers of fires in the home, most of which can be prevented by performing basic life safety measures. Additionally, citizens will be reminded of the importance and value of maintaining working smoke alarms and the need to replace them every ten years.
According to the latest NFPA research, about two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted in home fires in which there was a non-working smoke alarm or no smoke alarm was present.
“All too often a tragedy occurs involving a dwelling fire that claims the life of an occupant and/or occupants,” said State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci. “Sadly, in many of these occurrences, a lack of operating smoke alarms is revealed during the investigation. It is our hope that ‘Fire Prevention Week’ will help us reach folks throughout the State of Maryland before they’ve suffered a tragic loss resulting from the effects of fire.”
Below are some of the safety tips that firefighters and safety advocates will be emphasizing:
- Maintain smoke alarms on every level of the home, in bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
- Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. (Look for the manufacturers date on the back of the smoke alarm).
- Replace batteries in smoke alarms that have replaceable 9-volt batteries every year.
- Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in homes with fuel fired appliances. CO alarms should be placed on every level of the home and should be replaced every ten years.
Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by fire departments across the country. Additionally, fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.
As a reminder: A new law became effective on July 1, 2013 involving “battery only” smoke alarms used in Maryland residential properties. When these “battery only” smoke alarms have reached their 10-year life span, they need to be replaced with new long-life sealed lithium battery smoke alarms with silence/hush button features. The silence/hush button feature temporarily disables the alarm so the occupant can ventilate the space from mild smoke conditions typically created during some cooking operations. The use of these alarms eliminates the need to replace the batteries during the 10 year life of the alarm.
The new law also requires homeowners to ensure they have a smoke alarm installed on each floor and outside each sleeping area, per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommendations.
If your property is protected with 120 volt electric smoke alarms, they also should be replaced every 10 years with new 120 volt smoke alarms w/ battery back-up to ensure proper and timely operation in the event of a fire.