Resort Moves Ahead With CO Mandate As State Bill Dies

OCEAN CITY – Although a bill looking to mandate the use of
carbon monoxide detectors in certain single-family and multi-family homes
across the state died last week after it moved to the Senate and received an
unfavorable report by the Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee,
a similar piece of legislation for the town of Ocean City continues to move
forward with it being approved on its first formal reading at the Mayor and
City Council’s regular meeting this week.

It was back on March 13 during a Mayor and City Council
work session that Councilman Jim Hall made a motion to look into mandating the
detectors in all single-family homes, thus ensuring all dwellings in Ocean City
that use fossil fuels for heat, ventilation or a variety of other uses, would
be protected.

Two weeks later, at another work session, the council
unanimously approved a motion to go ahead and draft an ordinance that would do
such a thing, something neither pieces of previous legislation had touched on.
At this week’s meeting the ordinance had no trouble getting approved once again
on its first formal reading, passing with a unanimous vote once again.

The new code, which will become part of the town’s housing
code, states, “Every dwelling unit shall be provided with a listed carbon
monoxide detector(s), installed in accordance with the manufacturers
recommendations where any of the following conditions exist: 1. Dwellings where
fuel-burning equipment is installed or operated. 2. Enclosed parking areas
located within a dwelling. 3. Dwellings deemed necessary by the AHJ.”

As for dwellings deemed necessary by the AHJ, this could
include something such as an art studio that may use wood burning equipment.

The race to ensure the safety of Ocean City’s visitors and
residents began last summer when two people from Lebanon, Pa., a father and his
daughter, were killed in a Days Inn hotel room after they unknowingly inhaled
too much of the odorless, colorless killer.

By mid-January, an ordinance amending the city’s Fire
Prevention and Protection code by mandating the installation and use of carbon
monoxide detectors in both new single-family homes as well as designated
multi-family dwellings where fuel-burning equipment, such as fireplaces or
furnaces that burn solid, liquid or gaseous fuel, are installed or operated,
had been drafted and was ready for its first vote of approval.

It was unanimously approved its first time around and a
few weeks later, on Feb. 5, the ordinance unanimously passed once again on its
second reading, finalizing the amendment to the code.

Ocean City’s ordinance also served as a catalyst for a
bill in the Maryland General Assembly that arose back in February that would
encompass all of Maryland and carry similar regulations to that of Ocean City’s
ordinance.

House Bill 401 would have required all single-family and
multi-family dwellings that currently “rely on the combustion of a fossil fuel
for heat, ventilation, or hot water; or is connected to a garage” to have a
carbon monoxide detector installed within 25 feet of the equipment or garage.

However,
after passing in the House with a 136-0 vote, the bill soon died in the Senate
when its committee gave the legislation an unfavorable report. 

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