Law requires carbon monoxide detectors in homes
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(view as multiple pages)By Edward Mason and Chris Cassidy
Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday signed into law a requirement that all Massachusetts residents install carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.
Known as Nicole's Law, the measure was named for 7-year-old Nicole Garafalo, who died last January from a buildup of carbon monoxide in her Plymouth home. Drifting snow from a blizzard had blocked a vent from a gas boiler, and the home did not have any carbon monoxide detectors to alert the family.
"We've lost a lot of people to a senseless death," Danvers fire Lt. David Deluca said last night. "It's unfortunate. If we can save a life, (the new law) is a wonderful thing."
Deluca was a friend and high school classmate of Edward Arrington, a hockey standout and coach who died in 1991 from carbon monoxide poisoning. He was hopeful the new legislation could prevent similar tragedies.
Many people don't recognize the common household hazards that could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, he said.
"If they have a faulty oil burner or gas burner that they haven't repaired, it causes carbon monoxide," Deluca said. "... Not everyone loses their life, but you can get quite sick from carbon monoxide because it's a colorless, odorless gas."
Nicole's Law requires residential buildings with enclosed parking or equipment such as boilers, hot-water heaters and furnaces to have working carbon-monoxide detectors. They must be installed within 180 days of the bill's passage, which was yesterday.
Local fire departments are charged with inspecting homes for compliance. The inspections will happen when a property is sold or transferred, or in the course of new construction.
Failure to comply could result in fines. There's a maximum $50 fine for violations involving a single-family home, $100 for a two-family and $150 for any building with six or fewer residential units. A violation involving buildings with more than six units incurs a $500 fine.
There were 3,000 carbon-monoxide-related incidents in Massachusetts in 2003, according to the Romney administration, even though the detectors are relatively inexpensive at less than $50.
The dangers of carbon monoxide come up every winter. The odorless and colorless gas is produced by furnaces, stoves, water heaters and idling cars. It is often called a "silent killer" because the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning ó headaches, fatigue and nausea ó are often mistaken for the flu.
But every year in the United States, more than 200 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning produced by fuel-burning appliances, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Thousands go to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.
Still, the majority of homes in Massachusetts do not have carbon monoxide detectors.
The new law has a local connection: State Rep. Theodore Speliotis, D-Danvers, also a friend of Arrington's, separately campaigned for legislation that would reduce the chances of carbon-monoxide poisoning. The law that passed was very similar to the one he proposed.
"We were all very saddened when we lost him in Danvers," Speliotis said. "This can occur in Plymouth, but it can occur anywhere."
But not everyone is happy. Speliotis said his office received strong opposition from those in the construction industry, both small and large contractors, because of the increased costs the law would add to projects.
Carbon monoxide detectors
The state fire marshal's office recommends the following:
* Place carbon monoxide detectors on every floor and outside bedrooms.
* Do not place detectors in a garage or furnace room or near the stove or fireplace.
* Make sure the detector is approved by a testing institute, such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
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11-05-2005, 05:00 PM #1
Law requires carbon monoxide detectors in homesI dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
11-05-2005, 05:22 PM #2
Good law to have, we've had it in New Jersey for a while now and it is definately making the state safer as far as im concerned.
I just bought a house in Tennessee and I dont believe its a law there because upon checking the house out after closing noticed there wasn't a single smoke or co detector in the house. That kind of aggrivated me because now i had to spend another buck and half on detectors that should have been there. Better safe than sorry though so i definately didn't mind the expense too much.
11-06-2005, 07:00 AM #3
I'm all for it!
I like the fact that existing structures must be brought into compliance as well, not just new construction.
If it saves only one life, its value is immeasurable!
IAFF Local 2339
K of C 4th Degree
"Fir na tine"
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