California Carbon Monoxide Detector Law In Effect

Carbon Monoxide detectors are now *required by law in California*.  From the Hanford Sentinel:

A new law that went into effect this year will require many California residents to install carbon monoxide detectors in their homes by Friday.

The Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act says that all single-family homes with “an attached garage or a fossil fuel source” will need to have a CO-alarm in place by July 1, according to Senate Bill 183.

The reason is simple: Carbon monoxide is silent and deadly. It’s odorless, colorless and in high enough concentrations it can kill you in minutes.

Each year 30 or 40 people die in California from exposure to the gas, according to the state Air Resources Board, and another 100 or 200 more die across the country.

Kings County is no stranger to these incidents. Last December, a man was working to fix a faulty heater in his home just outside Home Garden right before Christmas. The vent was not working properly, so the cinderblock house filled with carbon monoxide. He passed out, fell to the floor and died. His wife came home shortly thereafter. She knelt at her husband’s side, took a breath, fell down next to him and also died.

Some neighbors noticed their absence three days later and reported them missing. No one had seen them since Christmas Eve.

The Hanford Fire Department is hoping to help educate local residents about the dangers of carbon monoxide through a booth at Thursday Night Market Place in the near future. There, firefighters will help dispel some misconceptions about the gas and give some tips on ways to protect yourself, starting with where the gas comes from and how CO detectors work.

“The gas can come from a home appliance, a heater, a gas stove, anything that burns natural gas,” Hanford Assistant Fire Chief Bill Lynch said. “Vehicles left running for an extended period of time also release carbon monoxide. And gas furnaces are pretty standard these days, so it is important to stay alert, even if you use mostly electrical appliances.”

A CO alarm, mounted high on the wall, will sound when it detects an irregular amount of gas in the air. This is important, because medical officials say the gas can cause unconsciousness with just a few breaths if there’s enough of it in the air.

Without the device, individuals will need to watch for the symptoms commonly associated with carbon monoxide poisoning: Dizziness, nausea, headaches and sudden tiredness or lethargy.

Anyone experiencing those symptoms is encouraged to get out of the house and into fresh air immediately. And to dial 911.