Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide detectors save lives every year and now in New York State, as of February 22, 2010, it is required that residences are equipped with a working alarm.

The law is named for 16-year-old Amanda Hansen of West Seneca, New York, who died on January 17, 2009, due to a carbon monoxide leak from a defective boiler while she was sleeping at a friend’s house. An estimated 2,100 people are killed each year from carbon monoixide poisoning and 10,000 people are injured, according to the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

Since carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tastless gas, the best way to protect yourself is to install an alarm or detection system that will notify you if gas begins to build in your home.

Under the new law, homes built before January 1, 2008, are permitted to have battery-powered carbon monoxide alarms, while homes built after this date are required to have the alarms hard-wired into the building. Amanda’s law requires existing one- and two-family residences to have at least one carbon monoxide alarm installed on the lowest floor of the dwelling where a sleeping area is located. The alarm must be clearly audible in all sleeping areas. The law applies to condominiums, cooperatives and multi-family homes as well.

Everyone is susceptible, but the American Medical Association says that unborn and young children, pregnant women, senior citizens and people with heart or respiratory problems are especially vulnerable and are at the highest risk for death or serious injury. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for the flu and can include dizziness, fatigue, weakness, throbbing headache, nausea, vomiting, irregular breathing, sleepiness and confusion.

For more information, the Office of Fire Prevention and Control has published this helpful brochure.

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