Senate Bill No. 597
(By Senators Palumbo, Wills, D. Facemire, Edgell, Snyder, Unger, Browning, Beach, Klempa, Foster and Stollings)
[Introduced February 15, 2012; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §29-3-16a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors and sprinkler systems; requiring smoke detectors and sprinkler systems meet state fire code requirements; requiring carbon monoxide detectors be installed in certain public facilities; requiring carbon monoxide alarms be installed in a central location outside of sleeping quarters and basements where fuel-fired appliances are installed; defining terms; and establishing penalties.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §29-3-16a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. FIRE PREVENTION AND CONTROL ACT.
§29-3-16a. Smoke detectors in one- and two-family dwellings; carbon monoxide alarms in residential units and lodgings; penalty.
(a) On or before July 1, 1991, an An operational smoke detector shall be installed in the immediate vicinity of each sleeping area within all one- and two-family dwellings, including any "manufactured home" as that term is defined in subsection (j), section two, article nine, chapter twenty-one of this code. The smoke detector shall be capable of sensing visible or invisible particles of combustion and shall meet the specifications and be installed as provided in the national fire protection association standard 72, "Standard for the Installation, Maintenance and Use of Household Fire Warning Equipment", 1996 edition, state fire code and in the manufacturer’s specifications. When activated, the smoke detector shall provide an alarm suitable to warn the occupants of the danger of fire.
(b) The owner of each dwelling described in subsection (a) of this section shall provide, install and replace the operational smoke detectors required by this section. So as to assure that the smoke detector continues to be operational, in each dwelling described in subsection (a) of this section which is not occupied by the owner thereof, the tenant in any dwelling shall perform routine maintenance on the smoke detectors within the dwelling.
(c) Where a dwelling is not occupied by the owner and is occupied by an individual who is deaf or hearing impaired, the owner shall, upon written request by or on behalf of the individual, provide and install a smoke detector with a light signal sufficient to warn the deaf or hearing-impaired individual of the danger of fire.
(d) An automatic fire sprinkler system installed in accordance with the national fire protection association standard 13D, "Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Residential Occupancies", 1989 edition, state fire code may be provided in lieu of smoke detectors.
(e) After investigating a fire in any dwelling described in subsection (a) of this section, the local investigating authority shall issue to the owner a smoke detector installation order in the absence of the required smoke detectors.
(f) After July 1, 1998, an An operational carbon monoxide detector with a suitable alarm shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s direction any:
(1) In any newly Newly constructed residential unit which has a fuel-burning heating or cooking source including, but not limited to, an oil or gas furnace or stove; and
(2) In any residential Residential unit which is connected to a newly constructed building, including, but not limited to, a garage, storage shed or bar, which has a fuel-burning heating or cooking source, including, but not limited to, an oil or gas furnace or stove; and
(3) Hotels, motels, hospitals, long-term care facilities, adult or child care facilities, assisted living facilities, boarding houses, dormitories and apartment buildings.
(g) Any person installing a carbon monoxide detector in a residential unit shall inform the owner, lessor or the occupant or occupants of the residential unit of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and instructions on the operation of the carbon monoxide detector installed.
(h) "Carbon monoxide a1arm" means:
(1) A device that senses carbon monoxide;
(2) When sensing carbon monoxide, it is capable of emitting a distinct and audible sound; and
(3) It is wired into an alternating current (AC) powerline with secondary backup.
(i) "Instal1" means:
(1) To attach to the wall or ceiling of a dwelling in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 720
standard for the installation of carbon monoxide warning equipment
in dwelling units and the manufacturer's recommendations;
(2) To plug directly into an electrical outlet that is not controlled by a switch; or
(3) To hardwire into an alternating current (AC) electrical service.
(j) A carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in a central location outside of sleeping quarters and basements within which fuel-fired appliances are installed. If there is a centralized alarm system that is capable of emitting a distinct and audible sound to warn all occupants, the owner of a dwelling may install a carbon monoxide alarm within twenty-five feet of any carbon monoxide producing fixture and equipment.
(h) (k) When repair or maintenance work is undertaken on a fuel-burning heating or cooking source or a venting system in an existing residential unit, the person making the repair or performing the maintenance shall inform the owner, lessor or the occupant or occupants of the unit being served by the fuel-burning heating or cooking source or venting system of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and recommend the installation of a carbon monoxide detector alarm.
(i) (l) Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $100.
(j) (m) A violation of this section may not be considered by virtue of the violation to constitute evidence of negligence or contributory negligence or comparative negligence in any civil action or proceeding for damages.
(k) (n) A violation of this section may not constitute a defense in any civil action or proceeding involving any insurance policy.
(l) (o) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the rights of any political subdivision in this state to enact laws imposing upon owners of any dwelling or other building described in subsection (a) or (f) of this section a greater duty with regard to the installation, repair and replacement of the smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors than is required by this section.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to requiring carbon monoxide detectors be installed in hotels, motels, hospitals, long-term care facilities, adult or child care facilities, assisted living facilities, boarding houses, dormitories and apartment buildings. The bill requires smoke detectors and sprinkler systems meet state fire code requirements. The bill requires a carbon monoxide alarm be installed in a central location outside of sleeping quarters and basements where fuel-fired appliances are installed. The bill defines two new terms. The bill also establishes penalties.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.