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Effective January 1, 2018, the “Maryland Smoke Alarm Law”, new House Bill 1413 (law) went into effect.  This Bill was actually approved back in 2013. As I read through the House Bill, it was very clear that the intent of the Bill is designed to save lives. Highlights of the State Law for Residential Smoke Alarms.

To have a smoke detector installed, contact us right away!

First, what is a smoke alarm?

A “Smoke Alarm” as defined by the new law is a single or multiple station device that detects visible or invisible products of combustion and includes a built-in internal alarm signal.
HS Tech group DOES NOT install “Smoke Alarms,” we install “Smoke Detectors,” so what’s the difference?

A “Smoke Detector” is a system connected smoke sensing device tied to a fire alarm control panel or household warning panel.

The difference is simple; the new law pertains to “Smoke Alarms” not “Smoke Detectors.” The devices HST installs (“Smoke Detectors”) connect to our security/fire system and are monitored 24/7. If there is an issue with one of our sensors, the keypad will notify you, and we will receive a trouble signal as well. When the device goes into alarm, it will notify the proper authorities, the Fire Department, regardless of whether your system is armed or disarmed.

A “Smoke Alarm” will typically just make noise and will not contact anyone for help, if you are not home, the noise will go unheard.

The intent of the law is simple; the State is mandating that you comply with the law.  Depending on when your home was built and what type of devices you currently have installed, you have several options. If you would like the specific definitions, please download the Bill and review the section that pertains to the year your home was constructed.

If your “Smoke Alarms” are older than ten years, you need to replace them.

There are several types of replacement devices available at your local hardware store, or we can recommend an electrician depending on what you have in your home. Types of “Smoke Alarms:”

  • Worry-Free 120-Volt Hardwired Inter-Connectable Smoke Alarm with 10-Year Battery Backup
  • Standalone ten years sealed battery-operated smoke detectors
  • Combination Devices – Smoke and carbon monoxide with 10-year sealed batteries
    Photo Electric or Ionization are two different types of Smoke Alarm Technologies

The requirement for a “Smoke Alarm” with sealed, tamper-resistant units incorporating a silence/hush button and using long-life batteries pertains to battery only smoke alarms.

Again, this law does not apply to smoke detectors as defined by the law above. The law gives Fire Prevention Commission responsibility. If you have questions, please contact your current security company or an electrician for more information.  Most powered smoke detectors that are connected to your home’s electrical system should be replaced by a licensed electrician.

I will add, that there is no harm in replacing smoke detectors that are ten years or older, it is a life safety device, but those used by HST are monitored by the main control for trouble, low batteries and alarms.

Trying to get inside the mind of a burglar would be pretty difficult to do.  Research on the subject will give you some important insight to keep your family and home protected.

New Research

In a study by the University of North Carolina, both male and female incarcerated burglars were asked 422 randomly chosen questions about their habits as burglars before and after their robbery and arrest.  For both male burglars, the number one motivator is money whereas the main motivator for females is drugs.

Researchers found that 54% of the incarcerated worst offense was burglary, 73% of respondents were on drugs or alcohol when they committed a burglary, and 64% indicated they would spend a portion of the money from the burglary on drugs.  88% of respondents were motivated by drugs or money to commit the crime.

Inside a Burglar’s Mind

The very first thing a burglar will look for is the presence of working surveillance cameras outside followed by a home security system.  This will make the burglar move on to another home.  Other deterrents are an abundance of outdoor lighting and outdoor noise (people and music).  Most burglars said they would give up on a burglary if they discovered a home alarm system.  60% of the burglars admitted to performing more than one robbery in a night and hitting multiple homes.

A recent trend has burglars targeting the homes of families during funeral services.  The burglars are accessing the obituaries and seeking out the address of families while they are attending funerals.  The obituaries provide the family name, time of the service and occasionally their address.  This information is like gold to a burglar.  While most burglaries only take 10-12 minutes, an intruder who knows that nobody will be returning for hours can take their time searching a home for the real valuables.

“This study adds to our understanding of burglars, their motivations, and their techniques,” says Dr. Joseph Kuhns of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, University of North Carolina.  “It also helps us gain insights into the impact of demographic differences.  By asking the burglars themselves what motivates and what deters them, we believe this research can help people better understand how to protect themselves against these crimes.”

At HS Tech Group, we can help you with a home security system, video surveillance, security lighting and other essential steps to help deter criminals from breaking into your home and keeping your family safe.  Call us today for a security evaluation for your home.

Apple recently announced the coming availability of the Apple Watch. HS Tech Group continues to partner with state-of-the-art technology providers! We’re pleased to announce that Alarm.com’s new Apple Watch app will be ready when the device begins shipping.

Features

From the app, your customers will be able to:

  • Arm or disarm the system
  • Control lights
  • Control locks
  • Control thermostats
  • Control Manage garage door access
  • View live video
  • See home status at a Glance

Stay tuned for the technology features such as energy monitoring, GPS tracking for your vehicles and your pets and much more.

The new app for Apple Watch is available now. Ask us about it today!