CHAPTER 170

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 250

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 66, TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO SMOKE DETECTORS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE, OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Chapter 66, Title 16 of the Delaware Code by re-designating all of said present Chapter 66 as new subchapter I of said Chapter; which new subchapter shall be entitled as follows:

"SUBCHAPTER I. STATE FIRE MARSHAL AND

STATE FIRE PREVENTION COMMISSION"

Section 2. Amend Chapter 66, Title 16 of the Delaware Code by striking §6622, §6623 and §6624, each in its entirety; and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"SUBCHAPTER II. SMOKE DETECTORS

§6631. Smoke Detectors Required

(a). Each owner of a residential occupancy, used wholly or in part as a home, residence, dwelling or sleeping place for one or more persons, either permanent or transient, including but not limited to any one-family and two-family dwelling, mobile home, modular home, townhouse; lodging, rooming or boarding house; hotel, motel, bed and breakfast facility; dormitory, apartment or multi-family dwelling; board and care facility; or a residential occupancy by any other name, be it rented, leased or owned, shall install, within such occupancy, smoke detection devices and/or smoke detection systems, either photo-electric or ionization types, capable of automatically sensing visible or invisible particles or products of combustion, and which activate an alarm sufficiently audible to warn the occupants of the building of an impending danger of fire or hazard to life.

(b). The requirement for the installation of smoke detecting devices and/or smoke detection systems as provided for in this section shall apply to all new and existing occupancies, buildings and/or structures listed in subsection (a), regardless of when any such occupancy, building or structure was built.

(c). It shall be the responsibility of the owner of a residential occupancy listed in subsection (a) to install and maintain smoke detection devices as required by this Chapter, with the following exception:

(1) Where there is a tenant of a rented or leased occupancy, structure or building required to have smoke detection devices and/or smoke detection systems, as required in this subchapter, and the rental, lease agreement or contract is for a period of one month or more, such tenant shall be responsible for the maintenance of any smoke detection devices, with respect to maintaining an operable battery in the smoke detection device, within the individual rented or leased unit.

(d). All smoke detection devices and/or smoke detection systems which are required to be installed under this subchapter shall be installed in accordance with the applicable provisions of the State Fire Prevention Regulations.

(e). It shall not be the duty of a real estate salesperson or broker, licensed under the provisions of Chapter 24, Title 29 of the Delaware Code, to verify the compliance of any person or residential occupancy with the provisions of this subchapter.

§6632. Smoke Detector Installation in One-and-Two Family Dwellings' Mobile Homes: Modular Homes: Townhouses

(a) Each one-family and two-family dwelling, mobile home, modular home, and townhouse shall have smoke detection devices and/or smoke detection systems installed according to the following requirements:

(1) For each new building or occupancy built after the effective date of this subchapter, smoke detection devices shall be installed outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms; and shall be installed on each additional story of the family living unit, including basements, but excluding crawl spaces and unfinished attics, if nothing is stored or kept in such areas.

(2) For each building or occupancy listed in §6632 (a)(1), the smoke detection devices shall be inter-connected, so that operation of any smoke detection device shall cause the alarm-sounding devices in all smoke detectors within the dwelling or building to sound; and all such smoke detection devices shall be hard-wired into the building or occupancy's electric system in accordance with the provisions of the National Electric Code. In addition, each hard-wired, inter-connected smoke detection device in the immediate vicinity of each bedroom area shall be equipped with a built-in battery back-up power supply; or one, single-station, battery-powered smoke detection device in the immediate vicinity of each bedroom area, in addition to the required hard-wired smoke detection device.

(3) For all buildings or occupancies erected or built prior to the effective date of this legislation, each required smoke detection device shall be installed with respect to location as set forth in §6632 (a)(1); but the smoke detection devices in existing buildings or occupancies may be single-station, individual smoke detection devices, approved by Underwriters Laboratories or the Factory Mutual Association, and powered by a monitored battery power supply in accordance with Delaware Fire Prevention Regulations.

(b) Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the owner of any one-family or two-family dwelling, mobile home, modular home or townhouse from installing an inter-connected smoke detection system, hard-wired to the building's electrical system.

§6633. Smoke Detector Installation: Other Residential Occupancies

(a) Each lodging, rooming, or boarding house; hotel, motel, bed and breakfast facility; dormitory; apartment or multi-family dwelling; board and care facility; or a residential occupancy by any other name shall have smoke detection devices and/or smoke detection systems installed in accordance with the following requirements:

(1) For each new and existing building or occupancy listed above, smoke detection devices and/or systems shall be installed outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms; and in each additional story of the occupancy including the basement, but excluding crawl spaces and unfinished attics, if nothing is stored or kept in such areas; or

(2) Smoke detectors shall be installed in conformance with those provisions of the State Fire Prevention Regulations for each particular occupancy which conforms to the National Fire Protection Association's Life Safety Code.

(b) Where there is a conflict between installation requirements, this section shall be interpreted to require the more strict of the installation specifications, for a particular occupancy.

(c) All required smoke detection devices and/or smoke detection systems listed in subsection (a), except as otherwise specified herein, shall be inter-connected, so that operation of any smoke detection device shall cause the alarm-sounding devices in all smoke detection devices within the building, occupancy or within a separate zoned area to sound; or that will initiate the building fire alarm system to provide an audible warning to all occupants of the building, and all such smoke detection devices,and/or systems shall be hard-wired into the electric system of the building, in accordance with the National Electric Code.

(d) With approval of the Fire Marshal, smoke detection devices in individual sleeping rooms may be excepted from the requirement that smoke detection devices be interconnected if such building or occupancy is provided with an automatic smoke detection system in the hallways, corridors or stairwells, or is connected to a building fire alarm system which will activate an alarm which is sufficiently audible to warn the occupants of the building of the impending danger of fire or hazard to life.

(e) For all buildings or occupancies which under subsection (a) are required to install smoke detection devices and/or smoke detection systems, and for such buildings or occupancies that do not have an auxiliary, emergency or back-up power system in accordance State Fire Prevention Regulations, each smoke detection device or smoke detection system shall utilize the type of smoke detection device that has a built-in battery back-up power supply.

(f) The plans and specifications for all smoke detection devices and/or systems required by this subsection shall be submitted to the State Fire Marshal's Office, prior to installation, for review and approval in accordance with the provisions of §6607, Title 16 of the Delaware Code.

§6634. Smoke Detectors: Compliance Dates

(a) For each newly erected or constructed one-family and two-family dwelling, mobile home, modular home or townhouse listed in §6631 of this subchapter, the compliance date shall be the effective date of this Act.

(b) For all existing one-family and two-family dwellings, mobile homes, modular homes or townhouses listed in §6631 of this subchapter, erected or constructed prior to the effective date of this Act, the compliance date shall be July 1, 1994.

(c) For all other residential occupancies listed in §6633 of this subchapter, constructed after the effective date of this subchapter, the required smoke detection devices and/or smoke detection systems shall be installed at time of construction.

(d) For all other existing residential occupancies listed in §6633 of this subchapter, newly erected or constructed prior to the effective date of this subchapter, the compliance date shall be July, 1, 1996.

§6635. Smoke Detectors _Penalties for Non-Compliance

(a) Each owner and/or tenant of every building or occupancy required to have smoke detection devices and/or smoke detection systems in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter, whether an individual or a body corporate, who fails to comply with the provisions of this subchapter regarding smoke detection devices and/or smoke detection systems, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each offense. The Justice of the Peace Courts shall have jurisdiction over any violation of this subchapter.

(b) Anyone who tampers with, damages, destroys or renders inoperative any smoke detection device and/or smoke detection system, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each offense. The Justice of the Peace Courts shall have jurisdiction over these violations.

(c) Where a fire department responds to an alarm of any type at a building or occupancy required to have smoke detection devices and/or smoke detection systems as required by this subchapter or by the State Fire Prevention Regulations, and such building does not have a functional, working smoke detection device and/or the smoke detection system is not operable, is not in service, or is not installed or maintained as required by this Chapter or by the State Fire Prevention Regulations; or the Fire Marshal's Office becomes aware of such building or occupancy, the State Fire Marshal's Office shall have authority to investigate. The State Fire Marshal may issue a summons, where necessary, to the owner and/or occupant of such building or occupancy, for an appearance in the nearest Justice of the Peace Court.

(d) Each fine specified in §6636 of this Chapter shall be remitted to the State Fire Marshal's Office in accordance with provisions of §6607(g)(6) of this Chapter, which provisions shall be complied with in implementing the requirements of this Chapter. All receipts shall be used to subsidize the costs of providing a greater public awareness of the ramifications of not having smoke detectors; and to provide smoke detection devices, where possible and/or permissible, for one-family and two-family dwellings, mobile homes, modular homes or townhouses, where enforcement action takes place with respect to the owner and/or occupant of the one-family and two-family dwelling, mobile home, modular home or townhouse.

(e) In the enforcement of the provisions of this subchapter with respect to smoke detection devices and/or smoke detection systems, where the fines are collected within the jurisdictions of the cities of Wilmington, Newark, Dover, or New Castle, such fines shall be remitted to the appropriate political subdivision, and shall be utilized for the purposes stated in subsection (d) of this section.

(f) The State Fire Marshal's Office shall be the state-wide manager and agency for all public awareness programs generated by the proceeds of the fines collected under this section.

(g) With the exception of the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, where any reference is made to the State Fire Marshal or the State Fire Marshal's Office, such reference shall be interpreted to also apply to the Assistant State Fire Marshals of the cities of Wilmington, Newark, Dover and New Castle for the enforcement actions of these provisions.

(h) The State Fire Marshal or the Attorney General may, in addition to other remedies provided by this section, institute injunction, mandamus, abatement or any other appropriate action or actions or proceedings to prevent any continued violations of this Chapter.

§6636. Exceptions' Claims of negligence

Failure to comply with the provisions of this subchapter shall not be considered as evidence of either comparative or contributory negligence In any civil suit or insurance claim adjudication arising out of any injury or death arising from a fire or the direct consequences of a fire; nor shall failure to comply with the provisions of this subchapter be admissible as evidence in any trial of any civil action or insurance claim adjudication.

Approved July 8, 1993