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. "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," said Deputy State Fire Marshal Bruce Bouch.
Deputy Bouch said that working alarms are important because they give people more time to escape from burning homes and avoid the effects of fire, such as smoke inhalation. "The whole idea is to avoid injury entirely," he said.
As of May 8, 32 people had died in Maryland from fires in apartments and one- and two-family homes. Three of those deaths are known to have occurred in homes where alarms were present but not working, Bouch said.