West Virginia State Senator John Yoder (R-Jefferson) is pleased to announce the passage in the Senate of Senate Bill 198, which would set fire and safety standards for bed and breakfast establishments. Senator Yoder was a co-sponsor of this bill. Bed and Breakfast operations are buildings occupied as a one-family dwelling unit that provides sleeping accommodations and breakfast to transient guests for a single fee and does not offer more than six guest rooms to no more than 12 guests.
“This bill exempts historic Bed and Breakfasts from overly burdensome fire regulations while protecting the safety of guests,” Yoder said. “Bed and Breakfasts continue to grow in number and importance in our state’s economy and need to be promoted and encouraged by state and local governments. I am hopeful that this bill will encourage and continue growth in this industry and the burgeoning tourism business across the state will be substantially helped by this bills’ actions.”
Bed and Breakfast establishments provide a unique contribution to the state as small businesses, allowing out-of-state visitors the opportunity to enjoy many of the aspects of the state not available at hotels and motels and in areas which would otherwise not be accessible to rambling visitors. Most of these facilities are housed in older residences being converted for this use and in many cases have architectural and historical significance within local communities.
The bill would require that each Bed and Breakfast have operational smoke alarms in all common areas, guest rooms and hallways and heat detectors as required by current Code. Also, each Bed and Breakfast should have an operational hard-wired, battery-powered or plug-in emergency lighting system that displays the available means of exit. Each guest floor should have a primary and a secondary means of exit.
Acceptable mean of a secondary exit include: a door leading directly from a guestroom outside the building with access to street level; a stairway which is covered or enclosed; a covered balcony or deck with a stairway to street level; a portable metal fire escape ladder in each room; and, an operable and accessible window from which guests could exit each guest room.