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Carbon monoxide detector law kicks in July 1

June 24, 2011 7:38:42 PM PDT
Each year, thousands of people are treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. Some die as a result. But next month, California joins 25 other states requiring many of us to have a carbon monoxide detector in our home.

In 2009, Eddy Choy Santos, 78, died in his Geary Street apartment from carbon monoxide poisoning. He might have survived, but neighbors ignored an important warning -- a carbon monoxide detector going off in an empty 4th floor apartment.

"Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas," said San Francisco fire marshal Barbara Schultheis.

Schultheis says headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness and nausea are often warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. The state estimates as many as 700 people are treated for it every year, as many as 40 people a year die from it.

Without a carbon monoxide detector, you might not know you're being poisoned.

"They should be installed in the hallway outside of each sleeping area, and one on each level of the home," said Schultheis.

Starting July 1st, all single family and two unit homes with gas-burning appliances will be required to install carbon monoxide detectors and it is as easy as plugging them in.

"By Jan. 1st of 2013 all of the remaining residential, including multi-family dwellings, will be required to have carbon monoxide alarms," said Schultheis.

A Daly City Home Depot store isn't far from a where a mother and her two children were rushed to the hospital because of carbon monoxide poisoning earlier this year.

A store manager told ABC7 they've been trying to get the word out about the new law.

"The ones that just run on batteries, run around $17 and can go up to about $22. The one's that directly plug in start around $25 and can go to around $32," said Bryan Thomas from Home Depot.

First responders say it's worth the price.

"They will save their lives," said Schultheis.

Fire Marshalls won't be going door-to-door to see if you have one installed, but the law does allow for fines up to $200 after a 30-day notice is issued. You'll also need to make sure you have one before you sell or refinance you're home.

Written and produced by Ken Miguel


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