MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Change your clock and change your battery in your alarms is a nationwide theme from firefighters that you will be hearing this week and for good reason. 66% of fire fatalities occur in homes found with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms due to a lack of batteries or dead batteries. Colder weather means there will be more fires so it is important to ensure you have working alarms. Working smoke alarms increase the chances of surviving a fire in your home.
"Press to Test"
It is important to test your alarms to ensure they are working every month. Press the test button on the front cover of your alarm on the first day of every month. If your alarm sounds you are good until next month. If your alarm does not sound - replace the battery and "press to test" again. Still no audible warning - remove old alarm and replace with a new 10-year alarm.
This Sunday, November 5th, we are asking you to replace the battery in your alarm with a new battery. The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department highly recommends you replace your older 9-volt battery powered alarm with a 10-year alarm.
A new law becomes fully effective on January 1, 2018 involving “battery only” smoke alarms used in Maryland residential properties. The “battery only” smoke alarms that have protected homes for the past several decades need to be replaced with new long-life, 10-year, 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, outside of each sleeping area and in every bedroom per National Fire Protection Association recommendations. It is further recommended that bedroom doors are closed while sleeping. Existing County law requires a working CO detector on every level of your home if you have any gas fueled heating system, fireplace and/or an attached garage. These are laws we can "live" with.
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/ 10-year battery back-up to ensure proper and timely operation in the event of a fire.
NOTE **Manufacturers have available: 120 volt electric smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries to eliminate the need to replace batteries during the suggested life of the alarms.
If you need a working smoke alarm and cannot afford to purchase one yourself you can call 311. A firefighter will visit your home at a mutually agreeable time and install one 10-year smoke alarm in your home, free of charge. The homeowner is responsible to install additional alarms and detectors per existing County law the new State law effective the first of the year 2018.