Indiana Board Unblocks Local Carbon Monoxide Detector Rules

January 8, 2018

An Indiana board has approved proposals from two local governments to require carbon monoxide detectors in residential properties after blocking those efforts over the past few months.

The state Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission voted Wednesday to let the ordinances from Chesterton and Porter County in northwestern Indiana take effect. The board dominated by construction industry representatives turned down the Chesterton ordinance in October and has postponed action on others, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported .

State law requires cities and counties trying to pass ordinances that differ from state building code and fire safety laws to seek permission from the 11-member commission, which is appointed by the governor.

Chesterton Fire Chief John Jarka said he was grateful to finally get approval for the city’s ordinance on detectors for the odorless, poisonous gas produced by malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances. Indiana is among a dozen states without such a requirement.

“I would just hope that the state would adopt it in the code,” Jarka said.

The Indiana Apartment Association, which represents apartment building owners, has opposed the local ordinances, arguing that it is best to have statewide safety codes.

Jonathan Whitham, general counsel for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, said the agency will encourage local officials to submit proposed ordinances for review that they don’t conflict with state building regulations.

“We don’t want them wasting their time, we don’t want their local councils or commissions wasting their time, adopting an ordinance that has defects that we could identify ahead of time,” Whitham said.

That’s not quite the “template ordinance” that Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb told The Times last month that he wanted the commission to prepare – especially for communities interested in adopting carbon monoxide detector ordinances.

Whitham said local ordinances that have won commission approval will be posted online, alongside the commission’s review and approval guidelines, for local officials to use.

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