Seven deaths in Maryland, USA occurred in fire-related incidents during the first two months of 2014, with four of the fatal fires taking hold despite the presence of smoke alarms. However, the alarms were later found to have dead or missing batteries.

The deaths came despite a new law that came into effect on July 1, 2013 requiring replacement of any battery-only smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old with a unit powered by a 10-year sealed battery.

The new law affected more than 800,000 Maryland homes. Last year in Maryland alone, nearly half of all fire fatalities were in homes with inoperable alarms or no alarms at all, according to the local fire marshal’s office.