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Carbon Monoxide Detectors Required In All Homes

Alarms believed to help curtail avoidable death and injury from carbon monoxide, an odorless and invisible gas.

Beginning July 1 all new and existing homes in Milpitas, and the rest of California, must be equipped with a functioning carbon monoxide detector.

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a silent killer, and tops the list of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with almost 500 unintentional deaths and more than 1,700 suicides related to CO poisoning. In California, up to 40 residents die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year. It is also estimated that as many as 15,000 people in the nation are treated annually for CO poisoning and many go misdiagnosed or unreported.

According to Julie Linney, senior deputy fire marshal with the Santa Clara County Fire Department, California’s Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act is a win-win for homeowners and fire officials alike.

“If you have any gas appliances that are leaking or sending off too much carbon monoxide, an alarm will sound letting the residents know that they are in danger,” she said. “You cannot smell, taste or see carbon monoxide, so an alarm will alert the resident, who in turn can safely leave the home and call 911 for officials to come in and detect it.”

CO is produced when fossil fuels burn incompletely due to insufficient oxygen. Sources include common household appliances such as the furnace, water heater, gas kitchen range or cooktop, gas clothes dryer or a fireplace. Additional sources include space heaters, portable generators, charcoal grills, wood-burning stoves or a vehicle idling in a closed garage. Any malfunctions, cracks or leaks in these appliances could cause carbon monoxide to seep, according to Linney.

Exposure to CO results in symptoms similar to the flu, with nausea, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, vomiting and an unusually rapid heart rate, according to the CDC. But too much exposure can kill a person in a matter of minutes.

Proper placement of a carbon monoxide detector is important, according to Linney. She says installing the detector near all bedrooms is key to its functionality. The alarm should be located near all sleeping areas, so the alarm will sound and wake up anyone who might be sleeping when the carbon monoxide hits the air. She recommends having an alarm installed on each level of any multi-level home.

Homeowners can purchase a plug-in alarm for less than $30 at any home improvement store such as Home Depot or department stores such as Target or Sears. Homes can also be hardwired for a CO alarm, much like a smoke alarm, says Linney.

If the alarm sounds, residents should immediately move to fresh air and call 911, Linney said.

“You should open all the windows and doors immediately and leave the home immediately for fresh air and to call 911,” she said.

More information on how to protect yourself can be found on the Santa Clara County Fire Department’s website

Robert July 01, 2011 at 12:51 AM
This is a wonderful progressive technique to increase revenue to the State, counties and cities. The progressives in the state have now required all 12.5 million (as of 2010 US census) California housing units to install one of these devises. At the suggested purchase price of $30 each, gross sales would be (if purchased in California) $375 million dollars, plus it would generate $30.9 million dollars in sales tax for our progressive thinking legislature to spend. But luckily this figure could be larger since most houses will require 2 or three units per house. I feel so privileged and safe to know that the state rulers would demand that 12.5 housing units install these devices to save 40 citizens. One hand the State progressive rulers demand that we cut our power usage but dictate that we install these 110V devices in every house to increase our power usage. Now that is progressive thinking run-a-muck!
Robert July 01, 2011 at 01:13 AM
How marvelous is this new law that it will increase the demand on our already over stretch fire department resources. Homeowners are told that when this device “alerts” to the presents of carbon monoxide, the home owner is to evacuate the home and call 911 so the fire department can send out two trucks and 5-6 firefighters to investigate and find the source of the carbon monoxide. The latest Santa Clara Grand Jury report stated that over 70% of fire department calls are non-fire related. Within two years this percentage will rise to over 80%-90% non-fire related calls and increase the demands for more public funds for firefighters, paramedics and addition equipment to sniff out the carbon monoxide source. If anyone believe that the increase in sales tax is going to pay for the additional firefighters and paramedics salaries, benefit and pensions plus the addition equipment really need to rethink this issue. Luckily California and all the cities are running a budget surplus and they can afford to spend more and more on public employees. We all need to thank our progressive stars!
Cindy Lee July 03, 2011 at 06:52 AM
Luckily my neighbor had recently installed a battery operated Carbon Monoxide Detector in their home and 2 weeks later it alerted her family and they all got out safely. The cause was their gas furnace. So it does save lives.
Adelaide Chen July 03, 2011 at 01:13 PM
Good reminder to get your detector this weekend if you haven't already. Thanks, Cindy!
Robert July 03, 2011 at 04:50 PM
How about a reminder for everyone to have their furnaces serviced and checked yearly like they are suppose to so they will not have problems. I know that require some personal responsibility rather than relying on a nanny state to tell you how and what to do but we are have to grow up sometime. Contracting with private sector employer helps the economy and is proactive rather than reactive. We cannot rely on the government to protect us or our children from our own laziness.
Cindy Lee July 04, 2011 at 06:45 AM
@ Robert, you are assuming that they had not had a yearly checkup of their furnace. i'm sorry, I did not ask when the last time they had their furnace checked since I was more relieved that a neighbor was safe. I can't comment on your other statement since I don't understand what your point is or if you even had one. Sounds like that you may have a personal issue, possibly related to the current elected officials in Milpitas since you have so many "wonderful" things to say about them in published articles on here and elsewhere. I was born and raised in Milpitas and enjoy living here and I am sorry that you don't feel the same.
Robert July 04, 2011 at 09:18 PM
Like you, I also like living in Milpitas. Unlike you I was not born in the USA and can appreciate what liberty and freedom really looks like. Your racist innuendo of, love Milpitas or leave is not appreciated and as long as I have my 1st Amendment Rights you cannot intimidate me into being quiet. The Milpitas elected officials had nothing to do with this item, so stick to the facts. Facts are that the Firefighters Union and Home Depot where major contributors and supporters of this bill and lobbied heavily to get it passed. The California state fire agency must certify each manufacturer of the devises before they are allowed to be sold in California and they must pay the state for that privilege of being certified. This is a rigged game for the state to grow the government (new fire agency) and benefit corporate donors Devise manufacture and Home Depot. Please reread the article and see who is going to benefit most financially from this stupid act. Once you accept the idea that any government can dictate what citizens must buy then you might as well be a slave, since they will control everything that you can buy. Buying into the idea that it is wonderful because people lives may have been saved is like dictating that everyone buy and wear life vest because earthquakes happen, they produce tidal waves and tidal waves kill people.
Cindy Lee July 04, 2011 at 10:15 PM
lol, nothing racist about my comment. Yes you have 1st amendment rights just as I do. Since you want only facts and facts , I see nothing about Love Milpitas or leave it, I simply stated " I enjoy living in here and I am sorry that you don't feel the same" my exact words. Whether you were born here or not makes no difference to me, we have all came here from somewhere either ourselves our parents.
Robert July 05, 2011 at 12:17 AM
Your personal attack has nothing to do with the issue. Normally people go to personal attack and “feeling” statements when they can’t stay focused on the issue at hand. Somehow you went from State law on Carbon Monoxide devise too I do not like Milpitas. Argue the issues, if you can.
Cindy Lee July 05, 2011 at 04:37 AM
hahahaha, personal attack ? wow
Adelaide Chen July 05, 2011 at 06:38 AM
OK. You two. Enough.
Rajeev Madnawat August 12, 2011 at 05:06 AM
A $30 investment can save the life of a whole family. Furnace check ups help but can't replace a need for a CO detector because something might get stuck in furnace vents during storms that might lead to CO build up in the house or something might go wrong with the furnace without notice (it is impractical to get your furnace checked every week). I have always kept a working CO detector in my house, for years, because I have seen CO related deaths up close.
Robert August 12, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Please read the law. It is closer to $120 versus the $30 since they need to be placed in multiple places like fire detectors. This really has nothing to do with saving lives or cell phones would have been band a long time ago. My issue has little to do with individual cost and more to do with who sponsored this invasion of our houses. Home Depot and the Fire Fighters Unions were the leading contributors to the law and wrote the initial law. Home Dot according to the article is the place to go to get these units. Hopefully you can connect the dots. The fire fighter unions now have added an addition service call to every fire departments busy schedule. More services calls means for justification for more fire fighters. Face it most homeowners will not get the monitor but they will be forced to get them if they want to sell their house or if they draw a permit to work on your house. The government does not have the right to force you to buy anything and also pick the manufacturer of the item. People should accept a little bit of personal responsibility for their own safety and stop relying on the Government to do everything for them. Very soon, Government services will shrink because they will not have the fund and they will not be able to fulfill on all the promises they should never had made in the first place.
Rajeev Madnawat August 13, 2011 at 04:40 PM
I do agree to some extent that government's job should be limited to informing people about dangers of CO and suggesting ways to avoid those dangers (e.g., by checking furnaces, installing detectors). I said "to some extent" because I am concerned about kids who are also at risk (perhaps at a greater risk) but can't decide to install detectors on their own if their parents don't. Other than that, there are so many other dangers lurk around. I would not want the government to continue "forcing" me to do things.
Robert August 13, 2011 at 05:10 PM
Ok here is an issue that has not been raised. In this case the government and it’s corporate friends are using scare tactics to support themselves by performing a faulty “failure analysis”. Good engineering is always driven by looking at the “root cause” of a failure, not trying to fix a symptom of the root cause. Sick and dead people are a symptom of carbon monoxide. Most engineers will determine the root cause would be a faulty device that process natural gas into heat and that where this process occurs is the root of the problem. If the government really cared about the root cause of the problem then they would address the root cause. How about place a “monitoring device” at the root source and design in a auto shut off value to cut the natural gas supply when the gas reaches dangerous levels? If this was truly a National emergency then have all the manufacturers install these devises in all new devises. This does not address the installed units but the new monitor, when designed correctly, would be a simple install and can be done at any devise after the shut off valve. This is addresses the root cause of the problem and not the results of the problem. Plus it would eventually make all products safer and get the humans and government out of house. Design by government officials is like asking a whale to fly a 747.

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