Where are carbon monoxide alarms required in hotels across Canada?
As a result, 46 people were taken to hospital for CO exposure, 15 considered to be in critical condition.
Everyone had been discharged from hospital as of Wednesday.
Officials have confirmed that a carbon monoxide detector in the motel’s boiler room detected dangerous levels of the colourless, odourless gas, triggering an alarm that called first responders to the scene.
The incident has raised questions about whether hotels across the country are equipped with the devices and how they’re regulated.
Here’s a look at how carbon monoxide alarms are regulated at hotels and motels in provinces across the country.
In British Columbia, the province and local governments share responsibility for regulating hotels in terms of fire and carbon monoxide safety.
The province establishes safety standards through the B.C. Building Code and the B.C. Fire Code, and local governments have the authority to enforce the codes, according to B.C.’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Under the 2018 B.C. Building Code, carbon monoxide alarms are required in all newly constructed buildings, including hotels, if a fuel-burning appliance is present there.
These appliances can include boilers, fireplaces, stoves and more. Carbon monoxide alarms are also required in buildings with attached parking garages.
However, the regulations are not applied retroactively unless a building has undergone substantial renovation.
The B.C. Fire Code regulates the maintenance of the alarms to ensure that they are inspected, tested and properly maintained.
In 1997, the Alberta Building Code made carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in places where fireplaces or wood-burning stoves were present.
The 2006 Alberta Building Code brought in requirements for carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in residential buildings, and that included hotels.
The code states that certified CO alarms are required in any building that has residential occupancy and also contains a fuel-burning appliance or an attached storage garage.
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Any multi-unit buildings in Saskatchewan, including hotels and motels, must have carbon monoxide alarms in suites that have their own fuel-burning appliances; that share walls, ceilings or floors with units in which such appliances have been installed; and that share walls, ceilings or floors with garages.
A 2015 Building Standards Advisory said carbon monoxide alarms are required in all buildings in Saskatchewan where sleeping accommodation is provided, and where the building contains fuel-fired appliances, solid fuel-fired appliances like fireplaces or wood stoves, or an attached garage.
Such alarms are not required if a building does not contain a fuel-fired appliance, solid-fuel appliance or attached garage, the advisory said.
In buildings where carbon monoxide alarms are required, the device must be installed in each sleeping room or within five metres of the room’s door.
Changes to the Manitoba Building Code in 2011 required that hard-wired carbon monoxide alarms be installed in all new buildings across the province.
This includes private homes and public and private buildings, according to the website for the Office of the Fire Commissioner.
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For homes and small residential buildings, the carbon monoxide alarm must be interconnected with smoke alarms.
The 2011 changes also state that a carbon monoxide detector must be installed in all buildings that require a fire safety inspection, where there is a potential risk of carbon monoxide infiltration.
This includes hotels and motels, hospitals, personal care homes, housing for elderly people, licensed beverage rooms, restaurants with living quarters, schools, daycares and other assembly occupancies, the website said.
In Ontario, carbon monoxide alarms are required near all sleeping areas in homes, service rooms and adjacent sleeping areas in multi-residential units, and they must be hard-wired, operated by batteries or plugged into walls.
In hotels and motels, a carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in a suite if it contains a fuel-burning appliance, according to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs website.
Further, the suite must be equipped with an alarm if it’s located above, below or beside a service room or a garage that contains a fuel-fired appliance.
The building’s service room must have a carbon monoxide alarm, the regulation said.
Hotel owners or operators are responsible for maintaining the alarms in Ontario.
Quebec requires carbon monoxide alarms to be installed where units have combustion appliances such as gas ranges or fireplaces.
They must also be installed between a house and an indoor parking garage.
Carbon monoxide alarms are required in any residential building, sleeping rooms set aside for care or individual suites where fuel-burning appliances are installed, or where there is a storage or parking garage, according to the province’s Department of Public Safety.
Since 2006, carbon monoxide alarms have been required in any hotel or motel rooms that share walls, ceilings or floors with areas containing fuel-burning appliances in Nova Scotia.
However, because the building code is not retroactive, any hotel or motel built before 2006 that has a fuel-burning appliance doesn’t require carbon monoxide detectors unless it has been renovated.
In an email to Global News, a spokesperson from the government of Nova Scotia said the province follows the National Building Code (NBC) when it comes to carbon monoxide alarms.
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“Municipal building officials are responsible for enforcing the National Building Code and the Nova Scotia Building Code Act and its regulations in Nova Scotia,” Krista Higdon wrote.
Additionally, regulations outlined in the Fire Safety Act are enforced by municipal fire inspection staff.
“The regulations outline the inspections that municipalities are required to undertake,” she wrote.
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