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Smoke Detector Regulations for the City of Columbus

4529.01 Purpose.

Since fire is the third leading cause of accidental death with residential occupancy fires accounting for most fire fatalities; most of these deaths occur at night during the sleeping hours; detectable quantities of smoke generally precede the development of hazardous atmospheres; and smoke detectors save lives; smoke detectors are required in all new and existing dwelling units in order to warn occupants of the need to escape. Smoke detectors have been required in new dwelling units in Columbus since April 26, 1978. There is a greater risk of fire in older residential buildings but the Building Code requires installation and maintenance of smoke detectors in such buildings only in conjunction with an alteration, repair or addition. C.C. 4525.09 required installation and maintenance of smoke detectors in all rooming houses and all dwelling units sharing a bathroom. One-, two- and three-family dwellings existing prior to April 26, 1978, were not covered unless an alteration, repair or addition requiring a permit occurred. This chapter places the responsibility for smoke detector installation, repair and replacement generally upon the owner. However, recognizing a non-occupant's difficulty in making weekly tests suggested by the NFPA Standard No. 74 and the life-saving regulatory purpose, the responsibility for maintenance is placed upon the occupant whose life is at stake and who has the greater access and information. (Ord. 2509-88.)

4529.02 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter the terms in C.C. 4529.03 to 4529.07, inclusive, shall have the meanings given therein. (Ord. 2509-88.)

4529.03 Hard-wired.

"Hard-wired" means directly connected to the electrical power supply of the building, whose power source is required for smoke detectors in any building constructed after April 26, 1978. (Ord. 2509-88.)

4529.04 Sleeping area.

"Sleeping area" means an area of a dwelling unit containing bedrooms which are separated from each other by no use area other than a bathroom. "Separate sleeping area" means an area containing bedrooms which is separated from the sleeping area by a use area such as a kitchen or living room (but not a bathroom). (Ord. 2509-88.)

4529.05 Split level.

"Split level" means adjacent levels with less than one full story separation between levels. (Ord. 2509-88.)

4529.08 Installation required.

The owner of a new dwelling unit shall install required smoke detectors therein according to the Building Code standards in C.C. Titles 41 and 43. If an existing dwelling unit is occupied, the owner shall install required smoke detectors therein according to the standards of this chapter (see 4529.13). If such unit is vacant, the required smoke detectors shall be installed prior to occupancy. Each alarm should be clearly audible in all bedrooms on the floor where each such alarm is located over the noise of a humidifier or air conditioner with all intervening doors closed.

Hard-wired smoke detectors are required in any one-, two-, or three-family residential building constructed after April 26, 1978. Smoke detectors powered solely by battery shall be permitted in any dwelling units constructed prior to April 26, 1978 regardless of the number of dwelling units in said structure. The hard-wiring and location requirements of Sections 4529.03, 4529.08, and 4529.09 of the City Code shall not apply to existing structures which have smoke detectors and which otherwise comply with the smoke detector wiring and location requirements in effect at the time of the construction of said structures. Compliance with the location requirements of this chapter may be achieved by installing battery powered smoke detectors. (Ord. 2525-90.)

4529.09 Location.

Smoke detectors should be positioned relative to stairways. Another logical location for a smoke detector is the center of the ceiling, closest to all areas of the room.

(A) A smoke detector shall not be positioned on a wall more than twelve (12) inches below the ceiling or in the dead air space [which exists approximately four (4) inches along the ceiling from the corner or four (4) inches down the wall] as illustrated by Figure A.

(B) A smoke detector shall be installed outside of the sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. In dwelling units with only one sleeping area, the smoke detector should be located as illustrated by Figure B-1.

In a dwelling unit with more than one sleeping area, a smoke detector (indicated by cross) should be located to protect each.

(C) A smoke detector shall also be installed on each additional story of a dwelling unit including the basement, if any, but excluding any crawl space or unfinished attic. In dwelling units with more than one story, smoke detectors should be located as illustrated by Figure C.

A smoke detector (indicated by cross) should be located on each story.

(D) For a dwelling unit with one or more split levels, a smoke detector shall be installed outside of each sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms, as required in (B) and on each additional story of the dwelling unit including the basement, if any, as required in (C). A smoke detector on an upper level shall suffice for an adjacent lower level provided the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level. If a door intervenes between adjacent levels a smoke detector shall be installed on both levels.

In dwelling units with one or more split levels, the smoke detectors should be located as illustrated by Figure D.

Split level arrangement.

"x" indicates required smoke detector. "e" indicates smoke detector is optional if door is not provided between living and recreation rooms.

(E) Although not required, an additional smoke detector may be installed in each bedroom for greater protection. (Ord. 2509-88.)

4529.10 Equipment.

(A) All devices, combinations of devices, and equipment required by this chapter shall be installed in conformance with this chapter and the Building Code, which includes National Fire Protection Association Standard No. 74.

(B) Smoke detectors shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. (Ord. 2509-88.)

4529.11 Maintenance.

(A) In a one, two, or three-family dwelling, the occupant shall be responsible for operation and maintenance of the smoke detectors.

(B) In a rooming house, dormitory, multi-family building containing four or more dwelling units, or dwelling unit sharing a bath the owner thereof shall repair or replace smoke detectors therein upon written notification by certified mail from a tenant or upon notification in person by a tenant that a smoke detector is in need of repair or replacement. If a tenant personally notifies the landlord of a mechanical failure, the landlord shall give the tenant a written receipt acknowledging the notification. The tenant shall be responsible for maintenance of the smoke detectors in the tenant's particular dwelling unit.

(C) No person shall remove a smoke detector or render it inoperative except for periodic maintenance. (Ord. 2509-88.)

4529.12 Replacement.

No hard-wired smoke detector shall be replaced with a battery-powered smoke detector. (Ord. 2509-88.)

4529.13 Change in occupancy.

In the event all required smoke detectors have not been previously installed or properly located, upon change of occupancy of any dwelling unit occasioned by or incidental to a sale, lease or sublease of such unit, the grantor, seller, lessor or sublessor, as the case may be, shall install prior to occupancy thereof all smoke detectors as required by this chapter or other applicable laws in proper working condition and in the proper locations.

If required smoke detectors have been previously installed, such grantor, seller, lessor or sublessor shall inspect the same and repair or replace them as needed. This section shall not be construed to vitiate or render void any contract, lease or sublease subject hereto. (Ord. 2509-88.)

4529.14 Permits and fees.

No smoke detector or detection system shall be hard-wired unless an electrical permit has been obtained from the Division. A system permit shall be obtained therefrom if required. The proper fee shall be paid in accordance with the Fee Schedule. No permit or fee shall be required for a smoke detector powered solely by a battery. (Ord. 2509-88.)

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