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CO poisonings in two states may lead to expanded detector requirements

Ensuring safety with CO detectors need not be costly, fire alarm companies say
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03/12/2014

YARMOUTH, Maine—Calls to expand mandates for carbon monoxide detectors in commercial buildings in New York and Maine have resulted from recent cases in those states of poisonings by the deadly gas—one of them fatal.

North Carolina may pass CO legislation after hotel poisonings

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07/10/2013

ST. CHARLES, Ill.—Several recent deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning in a North Carolina hotel room may lead to a law in that state requiring CO detectors in lodging places.

North Carolina hotel room a CO deathtrap?

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

North Carolina requires carbon monoxide detectors in homes and apartments, but not in hotels. Now, some tragic deaths in a hotel room in Boone, N.C. make a compelling argument for a CO detector mandate for hotels.

First, an elderly couple died in April in room 225 in the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza, according to news reports. Then, on Saturday, an 11-year-old boy was found dead in the same room, reports say.

Blood tests show that the April deaths were due to CO poisoning, according to TIME Magazine.

Next to die, on June 8, was the young boy, Jeffrey Lee Williams. “The cause of death was determined to be asphyxia, meaning his lungs couldn’t get enough oxygen,” TIME reported June 9. “Williams, from Rock Hill, S.C., died spontaneously, and his 49-year-old mother was hospitalized in critical condition — circumstances strangely similar to that of Daryl Dean Jenkins, 73, and Shirley Mae Jenkins, 72, from Longview, Wash., who were found dead in the same room on April 16.”

It has not yet been established if CO poisoning caused the boy to die and his mother to become ill, news reports said. But TIME said that an initial test taken the day the boy died “showed a high amount of poisonous gas in the room.” A toxicology analysis is pending, the magazine said.

The report says police didn’t explain why it took two months to get toxicology results on what caused the Jenkins to die. Earlier results, the magazine said,  “could have led to the closing of the hotel long before Williams’ death.”

The magazine added, “Room 225 is directly above the room housing a natural gas heater for the hotel’s swimming pool. Documents obtained by the Charlotte Observer show a Watauga County Health Department report indicating deficiencies in the pool.”

According to an NBC report, the independently owned and operated hotel released a statement saying, “The health and safety of guests who stay at our hotel is our No. 1 priority. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those involved. We are cooperating fully with authorities who are investigating this truly tragic incident.”

According to a new interactive map of CO legislation in the United States developed by System Sensor, North Carolina’s law requiring CO detectors in homes and multi-family dwellings took effect Jan. 1, 2010. System Sensor, based in St. Charles, Ill., makes fire detection and notification devices, including carbon monoxide detectors.

Carbon monoxide bill advances in California

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03/27/2013

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—A bill that would require all newer public and private K-12 schools to install carbon monoxide detectors has advanced in the California Assembly, according to an article from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

More states looking at requiring CO detectors in schools

SIA says recent incident at an Atlanta school highlights need
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03/20/2013

SILVER SPRING, Md.—A carbon monoxide leak at a school in Georgia in December sent more than 50 students and staff to the hospital—and the Security Industry Association says it also has drawn attention nationwide to the need for CO detectors in schools.

Prevent CO poisoning: Alarm companies should help Californians help themselves

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It’s now more than a year since California’s new law mandating carbon monoxide detectors in all single-family homes with an attached garage or fossil fuel source. However, a new survey shows many residents remain unprotected.

Seems to me there’s a marketing opportunity here that alarm companies would do well to take advantage of—to not only help themselves but also California residents.

It’s true that the new law, which took effect July 1, 2011, doesn’t require Californians to opt for monitored alarms instead of ones they can buy at the hardware store. But in a story I wrote last summer, John Hopper, president of the California Alarm Association, said he believes many residents will chose the monitored option as the safest.

“The state law has positioned us to perhaps increase revenues for the industry, from sales of the devices and associated monitoring,” he told me then.

A year later, perhaps this new survey will provide added impetus for residents and alarm companies.

Below is more from a recent news release on the survey, which was done on behalf of Kidde, a manufacturer of residential fire safety products, and the California Safe Homes Coalition. Kidde is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp.
 

While more than half of Californians are aware of a law requiring residential carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, many residents remain unprotected, according to a survey from independent research group, Qualtrics. Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents do not have a CO alarm in their home despite the overwhelming presence of both fuel-burning appliances (84 percent) and attached garages (75 percent) – the state-determined criteria for installation and primary risk factors for accidental CO poisoning.
 
The results come on the eve of the law’s one-year anniversary on July 1. Nearly half of respondents without a CO alarm stated they know they need one, but haven’t found the time to install the life-saving device. Another one-third of respondents believe that they do not need an alarm even though it is the only safe way to detect CO, an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas.

“We are encouraged that many California residents have heard our message, understand the dangers of CO poisoning and have installed an alarm,” explained Kevin Nida, president, California State Firefighters’ Association (CSFA), a supporter of the California Safe Homes Coalition and co-sponsor of State Bill 183. “However, we urge those who have not yet acted to do so now. Carbon monoxide is perceived as an issue that only impacts cold-weather states, and that’s not a safe assumption. We’ve experienced the tragedy of CO poisonings here in California all too often.”
 
Called the ‘silent killer’ because many people do not realize they’re being poisoned until it’s too late, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It claims 400 lives and injures another 20,000 each year nationwide. California officials estimate CO poisoning causes 700 avoidable injuries and hospitalizations annually.
 
“I miss my sister every day. Unfortunately, no one in my family knew about CO poisoning until it was too late,” said Walnut, Calif. resident Ta Juan Campbell.  His sister, Tyra Lynn, died of accidental CO poisoning in her Beverly Hills apartment in 1998. Campbell founded the Tyra Lynn Foundation to raise awareness of CO poisoning.  “If you’ve put off installing a CO alarm, don’t wait. It could save your family.”
 
California’s law aims to protect families, while reducing the number of associated casualties.  A final phase requiring CO alarms in existing multi-family residential dwellings goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

 

New CO law business, learning opportunity

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08/11/2011

MARINA DEL REY, Calif.—California recently became the 35th state in the nation with carbon monoxide legislation. As of July 1, all existing single-family homes with an attached garage or a fossil fuel source are required to install CO alarms within the home. Previous legislation already mandated the detectors in new homes.
The law is a way for the industry both to increase business and its knowledge and expertise regarding the devices, according to John Hopper, president of the California Alarm Association, which is based here.

Survey: Many in N.Y. unaware of new CO law

Amanda’s Law took effect in 2010 but many families don’t have carbon monoxide detectors
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05/05/2011

MEBANE, N.C.—About a year after a new carbon monoxide detector mandate in New York went into effect, a new survey has found that nearly half of New York families still don’t know about the law, according to Kidde, a manufacturer of fire and CO safety products based here.
Amanda’s Law, which requires working CO detectors in all one- and two-family homes that have appliances or heating sources that may emit CO or have attached garages, went into effect just over a year ago.