British Columbia

Carbon monoxide alarms now mandatory in Vancouver, new fire infraction fines introduced

New fire bylaws in the City of Vancouver mean that carbon monoxide alarms are now mandatory for all residential buildings with fuel-burning appliances or an attached garage.

'People think they will be able to smell carbon monoxide but it's completely odourless and very poisonous'

Carbon monoxide alarms are now mandatory in Vancouver residential buildings that contain a fuel-burning appliance or have an attached garage.

Effective immediately, new City of Vancouver fire bylaws make carbon monoxide alarms mandatory for all residential buildings with fuel-burning appliances or an attached garage. 

"It's a shared responsibility between an owner and a tenant to make sure there's a carbon monoxide alarm there," said Capt. Jonathan Gormick of the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service. 

"We will not be going door-to-door issuing fines but where it could come into play is, if there's an accident, there could be recourse against a landlord or owner, if there's not a carbon monoxide alarm in place."

Gormick says Vancouver is the third jurisdiction in Canada to adopt bylaws making carbon monoxide monitors mandatory.

"People think they will be able to smell carbon monoxide, that it smells like exhaust, but it's completely odourless and very poisonous. There were the four deaths near Ashcroft earlier this year and there are near misses in the City of Vancouver every year," he said. 

Tossing a burning cigarette butt can now cost you $500. (CBC)

In addition, new fines have been introduced to try and curb a wide range of unsafe fire-causing activities, including a new $500 fine for anyone caught throwing a lit cigarette butt onto the ground or into bushes. 

 "Every summer, we see a massive increase in brush fires because of discarded smoking material," said Gormick. "That's why we proposed this fine."

Vancouver Fire and Rescue attended over 40 vacant property fires last year. A new $750 fine has been introduced to encourage owners of vacant buildings to properly secure them. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

A new $750 fine targets owners of vacant buildings who do not secure their property. In 2016, over 40 vacant Vancouver buildings caught or were set on fire.

"Often those start with someone who has gained unlawful entry, either for shelter or for a malicious purpose. We're trying to encourage owners of these properties to properly secure these buildings."

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