Nyack, Feb 20 — Having a carbon monoxide detector is no longer a good idea. As of this week, it’s the law.
Amanda’s Law requires every private residence in New York state to have a carbon monoxide detector. It’s named for an upstate teenager whose death last year was caused by a lethal CO leak from a basement boiler while she slept.
All homes built after January 1, 2008 are required to have a carbon monoxide alarm hard-wired into the building. Homes built prior to this date are permitted to have battery-powered CO alarms.
“Ensuring the safety of New York’s families is a responsibility I hold most dear, and this law will do its part to help prevent future tragedies involving carbon monoxide poisoning,” says New York Governor David Paterson.
“Unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning claims hundreds of lives and sends several thousands of people to the emergency room for treatment,” says Jeffrey Elsenheimer Jr. of the Medina, NY Fire Department. “Because it is impossible to see, taste, or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill before you are aware it is in your home,” he says.
Additionally, Amanda’s Law will require contractors in New York State to install a CO alarm when replacing a hot water tank or furnace if the home is not equipped with an alarm.
Elsenheimer offers these recommendations when selecting a carbon monoxide detector:
- Accuracy: Look for a statement on the package about the alarm’s accuracy level. If the CO alarm is UL-listed, then the accuracy statement will have been certified by UL, too.
- Battery-operated: Consumers who live in areas prone to power outages or who own a gas-powered generator should consider a battery-powered CO alarm with a backlit digital display.
- Battery-powered units offer 24-hour-a-day CO monitoring when power is interrupted. The backlit digital display allows the user to view the CO level in the dark. The alarm can also be placed on a shelf or wall or moved from room to room.
- Digital display: A digital display screen clearly shows the level of CO detected in the home, and updates the reading every 15 seconds.
- Peak-level memory: This feature records the highest level of CO present. Knowing the CO level in the home can help emergency personnel determine treatment.
- Plug-in with battery backup: Easy to plug into any electrical socket, these alarms include a 9V battery for protection during short-term power outages.
- Voice warning: This feature clearly announces the threat present in the home, in addition to emitting the traditional alarm beep. It is often a feature of combination smoke/CO alarms.