By: Battalion Chief Mark Davis
Over the years, many fire and rescue departments in Maryland have been actively involved in very successful smoke alarm give away/installation programs to protect the residents of their communities. These programs have typically involved the use of smoke alarms with replaceable 9-volt batteries. In general, these devices have worked fine until the occupant activates the alarm due to burnt toast or frying bacon and quickly removes the battery to stop the alerting noise; or the annoying chirp of the low battery alarm at 3:00 a.m. results in removal of the smoke alarm battery. Dead or missing smoke alarm batteries have been an aspect in many loss of life fires and continue to be a factor in Maryland and across the United States.
The new smoke alarms will initially cost a few dollars more; however eliminating the need to purchase and replace the battery once or twice every year will actually save money over the ten year life of the new sealed battery smoke alarm. In Montgomery County, fire/rescue personnel are actively involved in smoke alarm inspections and installations and will most likely be moving to the new style smoke alarm in the very near future.
Any one who resides in Montgomery County and who needs a smoke alarm or would like their smoke alarms checked should contact their local fire station. For additional information, please review the Maryland Smoke Alarm Technology Task Force Report dated August 2012 online or contact the Office of the State Fire Marshal at 410-653-8980.