Carbon monoxide detector law soon expanding


Quvina Coleman lives in a home that uses propane but like so many California families, she did not know about a year-old state law that requires single family homes to have carbon monoxide detectors.

"I don't, and I've heard lots of sad stories on the news of families that have perished because they didn't have one," Coleman said.

Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer because the gas is odorless and colorless. According to Cal Fire, an average of nearly 500 people die every year of carbon monoxide poisoning; it also sends more than 20,000 to the emergency room.

That's why the carbon monoxide detectors were mandated in California homes a year ago: to save lives.

November is also Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month because this is the time of year people start using heaters and don't know carbon monoxide is around them.

"In a lot of cases, they are fatal; people don't recognize the symptoms, they think they have the flu, and they continuously subject themselves to high levels of carbon monoxide," state Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover said.

Starting Jan. 1, 2013, multi-unit residences like condos and apartments will also be required to have carbon monoxide alarms.

They are relatively inexpensive, ranging from $20-$40.

Some local fire departments even give them out for free.

Authorities want to emphasize carbon monoxide detectors are not the same as smoke detectors.

Coleman is definitely doing some shopping this weekend.

"I really need to pay attention to that and get one," Coleman said.

It's recommended that one alarm be installed on every floor and outside each sleeping area.

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