Life Safety at Home – New Carbon Monoxide Sensor Laws In Place

Posted by , , at 5:14 pm

California just observed a life safety issue deadline, but it remains to be seen how many residents of the Golden State will comply with a new law aimed at saving lives. As of July 1, 2011, homes throughout the state with attached garages and and/or using fossil fuel heating appliances are required to have a carbon monoxide sensor in place. The California law actually follows a New York law that has been effect for over a year. A recent article on the California requirement (written just before the July 1 deadline) provides the facts.

Ready or not, in just a week, the majority of California’s 12.5 million homes will need to be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. Will it happen? Probably not, say fire officials, but they’re hoping. “Carbon monoxide is a very serious, dangerous threat. You go to sleep and don’t wake up,” said Joe Garcia, division chief for Tulare County Fire Department. “Installing a carbon monoxide detector is simply a good thing to do.”

Why is Carbon Monoxide Dangerous?

Often called “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent, invisible byproduct of incomplete combustion, so it’s often associated with furnaces and portable heaters: here’s a link to the science of how it kills. At only medium concentration, CO can cause death in as little as 15 minutes, while much lower levels can harm pregnancies and cause long-term health issues. Death caused by CO inhalation is on the increase. In fact, the AMA (American Medical Association) names CO as the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America. Here’s a link to another story about a CO close call that illustrates the point.

The California CO Law

A state law passed in 2010, requires that all California homes with a fireplace, gas appliance, or attached garage, have a detector installed by July 1. The law was passed to help prevent the death of hundreds and sickness to thousands, lawmakers said. More than 30 people die statewide of carbon monoxide poisoning each year and more than 500 nationwide. An Oakhurst family of four, including two children, was killed in January when their electricity went out and they used a gas-powered generator in a basement to power their home. The poisonous gas filled their home and they died in their sleep, according to investigators.

The New York Law (Amanda’s Law)

Amanda’s Law was named in honor of Buffalo, NY resident Amanda Hansen, a teenage girl who lost her life to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from a defective boiler when sleeping over at a friend’s house in January 2009. Effective February 22, 2010, a new law went into effect in New York to help protect families from the #1 cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the US, carbon monoxide.

Monitored CO Sensors are Best

While the cheaper “plug in” sensors are readily available, there is no substitute for a monitored carbon monoxide sensor. Just like a monitored smoke and heat sensor, a monitored CO sensor will send the alarm to the 24 hour monitoring center, which can dispatch help immediately. If you have passed out from CO poisoning, just having a loud noise is not going to save your life. A monitored system has a much better chance of making that crucial difference – by summoning help.

Today’s alarm systems are designed to monitor for much more than intrusion. There are sensors for CO, smoke and heat, water, and even low temperature. It just makes sense to add one or more of these to any monitored alarm system – and with the right alarm company, you won’t pay any extra monthly fees for the additional monitoring services. Your insurance company will appreciate it too, and may reward you with a lower premium. A full range of sensors goes hand in hand with interactive, wireless home security – the kind you find you find at FrontPoint Security, the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. Do you have all the sensors you need to protect your family?

Comments (4)

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  1. Bruce Farber

    Your link to the article about the CA law is no longer valid. Do you have another?

    Is it best to install CO monitor low or high or it doesn’t matter? Wouldn’t battery powered CO sensor be best to provide protection even during power outage? One article talks about a family getting killed during a power outage because they used a generator in their basement. They would not have been protected by a CO monitor.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Bruce – Thanks, I’ll look for another link to place in the blog for the one that has lapsed. it happens, and I appreciate your letting me know.

      Smoke tends to rise, whereas CO mixes freely with air. Where CO matters is where you would breathe it – which is why the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Council) recommends placing the CO sensor in the sleeping area, near the height of your head when you are asleep. In other words, at roughly the height of a standard wall outlet. Our new CO sensor is wireless, so it does need to be plugged in – a definite advantage over the model we used to sell, when it comes to power outages such as you mention. Thanks for your comment, and be safe!

  2. Bruce Farber

    Your link to the article about the CA law is no longer valid. Do you have another?

    Is it best to install CO monitor low or high or it doesn’t matter? Wouldn’t battery powered CO sensor be best to provide protection even during power outage? One article talks about a family getting killed during a power outage because they used a generator in their basement. They would not have been protected by a CO monitor.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Bruce – Thanks, I’ll look for another link to place in the blog for the one that has lapsed. it happens, and I appreciate your letting me know.

      Smoke tends to rise, whereas CO mixes freely with air. Where CO matters is where you would breathe it – which is why the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Council) recommends placing the CO sensor in the sleeping area, near the height of your head when you are asleep. In other words, at roughly the height of a standard wall outlet. Our new CO sensor is wireless, so it does need to be plugged in – a definite advantage over the model we used to sell, when it comes to power outages such as you mention. Thanks for your comment, and be safe!

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