1998 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Smith
Senate Bill 2586
AN ACT TO CREATE THE "MISSISSIPPI SMOKE DETECTOR ACT"; TO PROVIDE THAT SMOKE DETECTORS SHALL BE INSTALLED IN ALL RESIDENCES AND HOTELS; TO PROVIDE REQUIREMENTS FOR INSTALLATION OF THE SMOKE DETECTORS; TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THIS ACT; TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL TO INVESTIGATE AND COLLECT FINES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Mississippi Smoke Detector Act."
SECTION 2. For the purposes of this act:
(a) "Approved smoke detector" or "detector" means a smoke detector of the ionization or photoelectric type, which complies with all of the requirements of the rules and regulations of the State Fire Marshal or has been approved by a nationally recognized testing organization.
(b) "Dwelling unit" means a room or suite of rooms used for human habitation and includes a single family residence as well as each living unit of a multiple family residence and each living unit in a mixed-use building.
(c) "Hotel" means any building or buildings maintained, advertised, or held out to the public to be a place where lodging is offered for consideration to travelers and guests. "Hotel" includes inns, motels, tourist homes or courts, bed and breakfast establishments and lodging houses.
SECTION 3. (1) Every dwelling unit shall be equipped with at least one (1) approved smoke detector in an operating condition within fifteen (15) feet of every room used for sleeping purposes. The detector shall be installed on the ceiling and at least six (6) inches from any wall, or on a wall located between four (4) and six (6) inches from the ceiling.
(2) Every single family residence shall have at least one (1) approved smoke detector installed on every story of the dwelling unit, including basements but not including unoccupied attics. In dwelling units with split levels, a smoke detector installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level if the lower level is less than one (1) full story below the upper level; however, if there is an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke detector shall be installed on each level.
(3) Every structure which contains more than one (1) dwelling unit, or contains at least one (1) dwelling unit and is a mixed-use structure, shall contain at least one (1) approved smoke detector at the uppermost ceiling of each interior stairwell. The detector shall be installed on the ceiling, at least six (6) inches from the wall, or on a wall located between four (4) and six (6) inches from the ceiling.
(4) It shall be the responsibility of the owner of a structure to supply and install all required detectors. The owner shall be responsible for making reasonable efforts to test and maintain detectors in common stairwells and hallways. It shall be the responsibility of a tenant to test and to provide general maintenance for the detectors within the tenant's dwelling unit or rooming unit and to notify the owner or the authorized agent of the owner in writing of any deficiencies which the tenant cannot correct. The owner shall be responsible for providing one (1) tenant per dwelling unit with written information regarding detector testing and maintenance.
The tenant shall be responsible for replacement of any required batteries in the smoke detectors in the tenant's dwelling unit, except that the owner shall ensure that such batteries are in operating condition at the time the tenant takes possession of the dwelling unit. The tenant shall provide the owner or the authorized agent of the owner with access to the dwelling unit to correct any deficiencies in the smoke detector that have been reported in writing to the owner or the authorized agent of the owner.
(5) As provided in subsections (6) and (7) of this section, the smoke detectors required in such dwelling units may be either battery powered or wired into the structure's AC power line and need not be interconnected.
(6) In the case of any dwelling unit that is newly constructed, reconstructed, or substantially remodeled after July 1, 1997, the requirements of this subsection (6) shall apply beginning on the first day of occupancy of the dwelling unit after such construction, reconstruction or substantial remodeling. The smoke detectors required in such dwelling unit shall be permanently wired into the structure's AC power line, and if more than one (1) detector is required to be installed within the dwelling unit, the detectors shall be wired so that the actuation of one (1) detector will actuate all the detectors in the dwelling unit.
(7) Every owner, manager or operator of a hotel shall install or maintain in operating condition a battery or electrically operated smoke detector device in each hotel guest sleeping room. Hotel owners or operators shall be required to test each smoke detector device at least once each quarter of each calendar year to determine if each detector is in working order. Additionally, every hotel shall be equipped with operational portable smoke-detecting alarm devices for the deaf and hearing impaired of audible and visual design, available for units of occupancy.
Specialized smoke detectors for the deaf and hearing impaired shall be available upon request by guests in such hotels at a rate of at least one (1) such smoke detector per seventy-five (75) occupancy units or portions thereof, not to exceed five (5) such smoke detectors per hotel. Incorporation or connection into an existing interior alarm system, so as to be capable of being activated by the system, may be utilized in lieu of the portable alarms.
Operators of any hotel shall post conspicuously at the main desk a permanent notice, in letters of at least three (3) inches in height, stating that smoke detector alarm devices for the deaf and hearing impaired are available. The proprietor may require a refundable deposit for a portable smoke detector not to exceed the cost of the detector.
(8) Compliance with an applicable federal, state or local law or building code which requires the installation and maintenance of smoke detectors in a manner different from this section, but providing a level of safety for occupants which is equal to or greater than that provided by this section, shall be deemed to be in compliance with this section, and the requirements of such more stringent law shall govern over the requirements of this section.
SECTION 4. (1) Each owner or tenant, or both, of every building or occupancy required to have smoke detection devices or smoke detection systems, or both, in accordance with the provisions of this act, whether an individual or a body corporate, who fails to comply with the provisions of this act regarding smoke detection devices or smoke detection systems, or both, shall be fined not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for each offense.
(2) Anyone who tampers with, damages, destroys or renders inoperative any smoke detection device or smoke detection system, or both, shall be fined not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for each offense.
(3) Where a fire department responds to an alarm of any type at a building or occupancy required to have smoke detection devices or smoke detection systems, or both, as required by this act and such building does not have a functional, working smoke detection device or the smoke detection system is not operable, is not in service, or is not installed or maintained as required by this act, or both, or the State 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 or occupant, or both, of such building or occupancy for an appearance in the appropriate court.
(4) Each fine specified in this act shall be remitted to the State Fire Marshal's Office. All receipts shall be used to subsidize the costs of providing a greater public awareness of the ramifications of not having smoke detectors.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.