Carbon Monoxide Law In Delaware May Take Effect After Four Deaths

Earlier this year, tragedy struck in a Delaware apartment complex. Four people and one dog were killed in the complex. The cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning. In the wake of this tragic event, a task force is proposing carbon monoxide law in Delaware that was not there before.

Carbon Monoxide Law in Delaware

Carbon monoxide alarms were not installed in the Delaware apartment complex where four people died. They have since installed alarms. (Flickr / Creative Commons / Judy van der Velden)

The law would mandate that there be a carbon monoxide detector installed in every boiler room. It would also mandate that preventative maintenance be conducted on a daily and annual basis. The hope would be to prevent a tragedy like the one that killed four people earlier this year.

The proposed changes were reviewed by the Boiler Safety Council Monday. The meeting reportedly included photos of boilers throughout Delaware that were rusted. Some of the defects included corrosion on exhaust pipes or an exhaust not being connected to the system. These defects could lead to exhaust getting into the boiler room or some kind of air intake device.

The carbon monoxide incident killed four and sent seven others to the hospital. It occurred in March in the Evergreen Apartments complex near Wilmington. The boiler was in a state of disrepair, which allowed the toxic gas to enter their units and kill them as they slept.

Although there were no carbon monoxide detectors installed at the time, they have since installed CO alarms in response to this event.

The governor-appointed task force is hoping to implement carbon monoxide law in Delaware by 2020 that would mandate carbon monoxide alarms in the boiler rooms of apartments, hotels, prisons, and other places people might sleep. The detectors would have to shut down the equipment to prevent carbon monoxide being released and killing more people.

The gas is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. Many states require carbon monoxide alarms within several feet of each sleeping area within a dwelling unit. This might be something to consider as well. Carbon monoxide can take people in their sleep without warning, unless there is an alarm to wake them and warn them. Even when not sleeping, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic the flu. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, get to fresh air immediately and call 911.

The preventative maintenance would require checking for leaking water, corrosion and nearby combustible material; ensuring ventilation is not blocked; checking fire and carbon monoxide detectors; checking and test operating safety controls. They would also require documentation of the inspections through photographs.

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