Smoke and CO detectors required in Saskatchewan. residential buildings

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All residences, regardless of their age, must have devices available by July 1, 2022.

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Every residential building in Saskatchewan, regardless of when it was built, will need to be equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors by next summer.

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Changes to the provincial regulation on uniform construction and accessibility standards, announced on Friday, will require devices to be installed by July 1, 2022.

Previously, only structures built after 1988 had to be fitted with smoke detectors, while carbon monoxide detectors only became mandatory for residential units built after 2009.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that can build up undetected in homes when appliances such as stoves or fireplaces malfunction. Confusion and drowsiness are usually among the first symptoms of gas exposure. Continued exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to unconsciousness, brain damage, and death.

SaskEnergy received an average of 1,200 reports per year of carbon monoxide incidents between 2018 and 2020, according to a provincial government press release announcing the regulatory change.

The changes follow a high-profile incident earlier this year. On January 15, at least 29 people from an apartment complex in Saskatoon had to be rushed to hospital after discovering that a rusty boiler had vented exhaust fumes into the building. At the time, Dr Mark Wahba was credited with avoiding a potential disaster for having the presence of mind to alert firefighters after a resident of the building presented to the emergency room with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Speaking on Jan. 18 after receiving an award for his actions, Wahba told Postmedia News he hoped the incident could highlight the need for mandatory detectors in all buildings. The episode also prompted the City of Saskatoon and the City of Regina to consider making detectors mandatory at the municipal level, before the province changed the standard for all of Saskatchewan.

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The same Saskatoon apartment building was evacuated again in March, this time after alarms installed in the wake of the January incident alerted residents to yet another boiler leak, this time caused by children hanging from an exhaust pipe.

Calls for more regulations also followed the deaths of two children, aged 12 and 13, after a carbon monoxide leak at a cottage in Emma Lake in 2019.

Cameron Choquette, CEO of the Saskatchewan Landlord Association, said the changes “came as no surprise” and were well received by members of his organization.

“Because we know that carbon monoxide alarms can save lives and that the health and safety of our tenants is paramount,” he added.

Choquette said the detectors remain relatively inexpensive, despite some price hikes and supply grunts since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the government amendments also ease the potential burden on landowners by requiring only detectors in rooms that share a wall, ceiling or floor with a utility room containing a fuel-burning device.

“Our old buildings will not be as affected as we initially thought. “

The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs called for mandatory carbon monoxide detectors nationwide since at least 2017.

  1. The Medavie Health Service Special Operations Unit, a larger ambulance to accommodate multiple patients, was deployed to assist paramedics transport 29 residents from an apartment building to two hospitals in the city on January 14, 2021 after being exposed to carbon monoxide.  Photo provided by Medavie Health Services.

    Apartment Residents Rescued From Carbon Monoxide Leak After Saskatoon Doc’s ‘Incredible Job’

  2. A Saskatoon Fire Department fire truck at Fire Station # 3.

    Faulty furnace evacuates Saskatoon nursing home

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