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Two Big Wins for Life Safety Legislation in California and North Carolina

09/17/2013 9:00AM

California and North Carolina recently enacted life safety laws supported by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). The California case originated with SB 1394, which was enacted in 2012 and contained a requirement for all battery-operated smoke alarms sold in the state as of July 1, 2014, to have a 10-year, sealed (non-removable) battery. From the consumer’s perspective, NEMA believed that this provision was likely to preclude other product choices which might be more appropriate or cost effective for consumers. From an industry position, this law would have necessitated a product redesign for various companies resulting in a multi-year process before placing a compliant product on the market.

Accordingly, NEMA chose to support an amendment (SB 745) submitted by the California State Firefighters Association that would provide an exception for all smoke alarms that are in commerce by July 1, 2014. On August 27, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 745 into law. The State Fire Marshals Fire Alarm Advisory Committee is responsible for implementing the requirements of the law and will meet later this month to finalize the language for the code.

In North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory recently signed HR 74, which requires carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in “lodging establishments” in every room that shares a common wall, floor, or ceiling with another room that has a fossil fuel-burning heater, appliance, or fireplace. The bill encourages similar action for “dwelling units,” but does not make this provision mandatory. HR 74, supported by NEMA, was brought to the General Assembly floor in response to several deaths that occurred this summer in the same North Carolina hotel room nearly two months apart. NEMA commends the efforts of the North Carolina lawmakers to prevent further tragedies related to carbon monoxide poisoning in the state.

For more information, visit www.LifeSafetySolutionsOnline.org.

NEMA is the association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers, founded in 1926 and headquartered in Rosslyn, Virginia. Nearly 400 members strong, its companies manufacture a diverse set of products including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, factory automation and control systems, and medical  imaging and radiation therapy systems. Total U.S. shipments for electroindustry products exceed $100 billion annually.

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