SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- The South Burlington and Burlington fire departments will distribute 500 carbon monoxide detectors to residents who might not be able to comply with a new state law requiring them.
The First Alert detectors, donated to the departments by Illinois-based BRK Brands Inc., will be divided evenly among Burlington and South Burlington residents, said Dave Roberts, assistant fire marshal at the Burlington Fire Department.
''We hope that people take this opportunity to safeguard themselves and their families from the danger of this deadly gas,'' Roberts said at the South Burlington Fire Department's Dorset Street station.
Gov. James Douglas is expected to sign Wednesday a law that would require detectors in single-family homes, new homes and apartments is likely be signed into law by Gov. Jim Douglas this week.
The bill will mandate the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in single-family homes at the time of sale, new homes and all apartments July 1; in public buildings where people sleep Oct. 1; and in some other public buildings where people do not sleep Nov. 1.
''It seemed that now would be the appropriate time to make this happen,'' said Mary Brophy, spokeswoman for First Alert, referring to the donation of the 500 detectors, which cost about $20 each.
In January a carbon monoxide leak at the Redstone Apartments complex for University of Vermont students killed one person and sickened nine others.
Rep. Ann Pugh, D-South Burlington, who introduced House legislation mandating carbon monoxide detectors in residences, said state legislators discussed concerns that some Vermonters would be unable to pay for detectors when the bill becomes law.
''For the tiny burden and small cost of a carbon monoxide detector, we can save many lives,'' Pugh said. The soon-to-be-signed state law will make Vermont ''a safer place to go to sleep at night,'' she said.
Information from: The Burlington Free Press