California's Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010 Takes Effect July 1st

On Friday, July 1st, California's Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010 takes effect. Senate Bill 183 was approved by then Governor Schwarzenegger on May 7, 2010. It requires homeowners to install carbon monoxide detectors in all single-family California residences with an attached garage, fireplace or a fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance. The same requirement takes effect on multi-unit residences effective January 1, 2013.

Combination smoke, fire and carbon monoxide alarm from the local Home DepotThe law also says "With respect to the number and placement of carbon monoxide devices, an owner shall install the devices in a manner consistent with building standards applicable to new construction for the relevant type of occupancy or with the manufacturer’s instructions, if it is technically feasible to do so."

I don't know exactly what that means, but practically speaking, it is a good idea to have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors within close proximity to all sleeping areas and on all floors of your house.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. If the appliances that burn the fuel are properly used and maintained, the amount of CO produced is generally not hazardous. However, improper use of appliances can result in deadly levels of CO. Hundreds of people die every year from CO poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances. Heaters, fireplaces, furnaces and many types of appliances and cooking devices produce the colorless, odorless gas.

Even though the detectors will alert residents to the presence of CO, people need to know the symptoms of CO poisoning so they can act quickly and early. At moderate levels of CO, the symptoms include severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, fainting and mental confusion. Many of these same symptoms are milder at lower levels of CO.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer; You can’t see it or smell it, but at high levels, it can kill a person in just minutes.

A recent study found that almost 90 percent of California homes don’t have carbon monoxide detectors. Having a detector is a very small investment that can protect the lives of your family.

California is not the only state to have such laws in place. Roughly half of the states have residential carbon monoxide detection laws.