Thursday, February 26, 2015

Schaer, Prieto, Caride, Lagana, Giblin & Wimberly Bill to Require Carbon Monoxide Detectors in More Public Buildings Advances

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Marlene Caride, Joseph Lagana, Thomas Giblin and Benjie E. Wimberly to expand requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in building structures not currently required to have the devices was approved by an Assembly panel on Thursday.
The bill (A-4073)  is designated as the “Korman and Park’s Law” after Noel Korman and Alice Park, who recently lost their lives among several others who were sickened and hospitalized due to carbon monoxide exposure in a multi-use commercial structure in Passaic.  The building is home to nearly 20 rehearsal spaces and small recording studios rented monthly by a variety of local musicians and bands and part of an industrial complex off Van Houten Avenue.

“This tragic incident may have been prevented with the installation of carbon monoxide detectors,” said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Building owners should be aware of the presence of carbon monoxide and a threat to occupants’ safety. This bill will encourage the installation of more detectors in more buildings and, in turn, strengthen vigilance and safety precautions against carbon monoxide in New Jersey.”
“Carbon monoxide devices are as critical to ensuring safety in our buildings and homes as fire extinguishers,” said Speaker Prieto (D-Bergen/Hudson). “In order to prevent the Passaic incident from happening again in New Jersey, we must require carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in all buildings with the possibility of being at risk for this gas. It’s the only way to protect more lives in the future.”
Currently, carbon monoxide detectors are required in hotels, multiple dwellings, rooming and boarding homes, and in single- and two-family homes upon initial occupancy or change of occupancy.  The bill would expand this requirement to almost all other structures. 
“Carbon monoxide detectors are safety devices that should be in every building with a heating system or product that has the potential of emitting this gas,” said Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic). “It’s a small, inexpensive requirement that can have a huge impact in the long run. It will save lives.”
“Buildings today are renovated or repurposed to serve multiple uses over time,” Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “A residential building one year can become office studios the next without changing the infrastructure of the building. This bill expands the law to protect occupants in any building that’s at risk.”
However, the bill would not require the installation of carbon monoxide detection devices if it is determined that there is no potential carbon monoxide hazard in the structure.  Therefore, these devices would not be required in a building which does not have a source of carbon monoxide fumes.
Under the bill, a construction permit would not be issued without provision for the placement of carbon monoxide detection devices.  The bill would also require the installation of these devices in structures that already exist within 90 days of the adoption of rules and regulations by the Commissioner of Community Affairs concerning the installation and location of, as well as the need for, carbon monoxide detection devices.
“Above all else, this legislation encourages building owners to be more vigilant about the risk of carbon monoxide on their property,” said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic). “Diligence in installing carbon monoxide detectors will help to prevent future tragedies. This bill aims to do just that.”
“Carbon monoxide poisoning is easily preventable with detection,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/ Passaic). “A carbon monoxide detector that will save lives should be required for all building structures that are at risk for the gas.”
The bill would require that structures be inspected for compliance by local fire officials or the Division of Fire Safety in the Department of Community Affairs, depending upon which agency has jurisdiction for fire safety inspections in the area, at the time of any inspection conducted pursuant to the “Uniform Fire Safety Act.”  The enforcing agency would be authorized to impose a fee for the costs associated with inspections and the issuance of certificates.  Moreover, this bill also authorizes the imposition of penalties for non-compliance.
            The Assembly State and Local Government Committee released the measure during an afternoon meeting.

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