House passes bill updating smoke detector requirements

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 12, 2022

Baldridge was sponsor

COLUMBUS — The Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 304 on Wednesday, legislation which requires, under certain circumstances, that existing smoke detectors be replaced with a sealed battery smoke detector, and that the State Fire Marshal shall adopt rules that include the new requirements.

“As both a volunteer and a professional firefighter/paramedic for over 32 years, I have seen firsthand that smoke detectors save lives,” said bill sponsor, State Rep. Brian Baldridge, R-90. “Unfortunately, I have also seen firsthand the consequences of when a detector is improperly maintained, tampered with or removed.”

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Under the bill, the state fire marshal and board of building standards will be required to adopt rules requiring installation of sealed battery smoke alarms in residential buildings that rely on battery operated, as opposed to hard-wired, smoke detectors to meet the state fire code’s standards for smoke detectors.

A sealed battery smoke detector will be required for the following situations:

• Ten years pass from an existing smoke alarm’s date of manufacture;

• An existing smoke alarm malfunctions or fails to respond to a function test;

• Ownership of owner-occupied residential premises changes, and sealed battery smoke alarms that are less than ten years old are not already installed;

• A new tenant is scheduled to take possession of premises and sealed battery smoke alarms that are less than ten years old are not already installed;

• Alterations or repairs requiring plan approval are made and smoke alarms that are hardwired into the building’s electrical supply are not required as a result of those alterations or repairs.

The bill has the support of the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association, Safe Kids Ohio, Center for Campus Fire Safety, and was unanimously supported by the House Commerce and Labor Committee.

“This bill will not only save multi-family home owners money, but it will also, and more importantly, save lives,” added Baldridge.

H.B. 304 passed in the House with a vote of 78-14, and will now head to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.