Colorado Bill Would Require CO Detectors

April 10, 2008
The would require that all new homes, homes for sale, or homes for transfer have carbon monoxide alarms.


A proposed bill making its way through the state Senate would require that all new homes, homes for sale, or homes for transfer have carbon monoxide alarms.

Rob Reyes, of Fort Collins, testified before a Senate committee that a CO leak caused by a faulty furnace nearly claimed his family's lives in April 2006.

"They ( the firefighters) were amazed that we even woke up," said Reyes.

He and his family had to spend hours in a hyperbaric chamber and still have symptoms.

After that incident, they installed CO alarms, and a few months later, when the alarm went off, they made it out of their home safely.

"We ask that you make CO detectors mandatory in homes that are being built," said Reyes.

Senate Bill 187 would require any new home or home for sale that has a fuel-burning heater, a fireplace or an attached garage have a CO alarm near every bedroom.

Fire officials testified that in the last four years, Denvers fire department responded to more than 500 carbon-monoxide-related incidents. They support the measure.

But opponents, including homebuilders and realtors, said CO alarms "aren't ready for prime time," pointing to studies that show high failure rates.

"The problem is they don't have the reliability and the longevity that smoke detectors have," said Greg Wheeler with the Colorado chapter of the International Code Council.

Opponents believe CO alarm manufacturers haven't been able to get it into building codes, so they're trying state law.

"It belongs in building codes, and those who develop codes are the folks with expertise we look to to provide guidance," said Kim Calomino with the Colorado Association of Homebuilders.

Cost is also a big issue for apartment owners who might have to install hundreds of alarms, and opponents say homeowners will pay, too, when they have to hire contractors to inspect their homes after the false alarms.

The bill passed 4-3 in a Senate committee Tuesday, and now goes to the full Senate.

Opponents say they'll keeping fighting it.

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