Effective July 1, 2011 new CA law requires single family homes be equipped with working carbon monoxide detectors. The following is a story to get you motivated to comply with that law, and go get some of these carbon monoxide detectors. One thing, most of these CO detectors are sold as plug-in to electrical wall outlets with battery back-up. If you do not have the direct electrical outlet wall space, battery units CO detectors do exist, look for those.
San Mateo Daily Journal, 7/4/11. In the winter of 1995, homeowner Mary Watt was given a carbon monoxide alarm detector as a housewarming gift from her father. “I thought it was a little silly,” said Watt, executive director at CALL Primrose in Burlingame. “But little did we know, it saved our lives and it can certainly save the lives of others.” Before going to bed, two of Watt’s carbon monoxide detectors, commonly known as CO detectors, went off in her home. She and her sons had a terrible headache and knew something was wrong. Watt contacted Pacific Gas and Electric and was told her furnace cracked in combustion causing carbon monoxide to burn in the air. If Watt did not have CO detectors installed in her home, she said she and her sons would have died. Watt is grateful with the new California law, Senate Bill 183, that took effect Friday mandating all single-family homes with an attached garage, fireplace or a fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance, be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. Multi-family properties have until Jan. 1, 2013 to comply with the law.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is a byproduct of burning household appliance material, according to Jim Palisi, fire marshal in Redwood City. The deadly gas can kill a person in minutes by cutting oxygen to the brain. Early symptoms are severe headaches, nausea, faintness, mental confusion, shortness of breath and vomiting, he said. Palisi said fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, ovens, clothes dryers, fireplaces and water heaters produce the toxic gas. If the equipment malfunctions or isn’t installed properly, the carbon monoxide emitted can cause injury or death.
According to Acting State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover, carbon monoxide is known as a “silent killer,” each year claiming the lives of an average of 480 people and sending more than 20,000 people to emergency rooms across the nation. In addition, it is the leading cause of poisonous death in the United States, according to American Medical Association. A recent study found that nearly nine in 10 California households did not have a CO detector. “Having a CO detector is a small investment that really can help save your life and the lives of your family,” Hoover said. The Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act has no provision under state law enforcement after the law is in effect, according to Malcolm Smith, public communications manager of Redwood City. There is an issue for compliance if a death or sickness occurs within a home or building and there is no legal right or mechanism built into the law for enforcement, he added. “We are hopeful that everyone will comply with public safety,” Smith said. “We encourage people to make a small investment that will make a big difference in their lives.”
Palisi said the best safety tip is treat a CO detector as a smoke detector. Keep alarms clear of dust and debris, do not use an oven to heat your home, do not use gas power engines indoors, do not idle a vehicle inside a closed garage space, and make sure your chimney is well inspected and cleaned before every winter, he said. “Remember to treat alarms as the real deal,” Palisi said. “Maintain them. They may seem expensive, but they will definitely save a life.”Homeowners can find plug-in or battery-operated alarm systems starting at $16 at any major hardware store such as Lowe’s, Orchard Supply, Home Depot or Ace. Dual sensor detectors are also available to serve two functions as a CO detector and smoke alarm. Please visit www.fire.ca.gov for more details.
Posted by Kathy Meeh