Connecticut Smoke Detector Laws Aim to Prevent Fires

By Attorney John J. LaCava
Stamford Norwalk Bridgeport

Numerous laws protect consumers, residents and workers from fire hazards. A recent example of one such law in Connecticut is H.B. 5802, which passed last summer and prohibits anyone from using flammable gas to clean gas piping.

While certainly some industries (such as construction and energy) provide workers an increased risk of harm by fire, other laws also protect residents and consumers. For example, in multiple-dwelling apartment buildings, by law, landlords must install smoke detectors in every apartment. This is a much-needed protection, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 85 percent of fire deaths occur in residential structures, and fire is the third-leading cause of death in the home. CDC data also shows that one-third of these deaths occur in residences without functioning smoke detectors. Adding it all up, in the U.S. in 2010, someone died from burn injury or other fire-related injury approximately every three hours, many of which could possibly have been prevented by a functioning smoke detector.

That is why the Connecticut Fire Safety Code provides that the Fire Marshal's Office must investigate after a fire whether the building complied with state law and had functioning smoke detectors in every apartment unit. For new buildings, these smoke detectors must be hardwired into the building rather than battery operated. This reduces the chances of a smoke detector failing to sound the alarm because of a dead battery.

Other Connecticut Fire Safety Code provisions include such things as where to properly place fire extinguishers and the minimum number of exits an apartment building must have.

These laws are aimed at preventing injury and death; unfortunately, tragedy still occurs. If you have been injured in a fire, or a loved one has lost his or her life to a fire, you may be able to hold the negligent parties responsible. A personal injury attorney knowledgeable with fire cases and the Connecticut Fire Safety Code can help you to potentially recover financial compensation to pay medical bills, lost wages and other costs to see you through a difficult time.