Bill Would Mandate Standards For Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Two U.S. Senators last week introduced legislation that would give the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) the power to impose stricter standards for carbon monoxide detectors, according to the Echo Press of Alexandria, Minn.

Amy Klobucher, D-Minn., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, are pushing for passage of the Nicholas and Zachary Burt Memorial Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act. The legislation is named after two young brothers from Kimball, Minn., who died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Snowe told the Echo Press that the legislation is needed nationally and in Maine in particular, where residents sometimes use indoor heaters — which can emit carbon monoxide — to warm up their homes in the cold northern winters.  That’s why consumers in Maine and other states need to be sure that their carbon monoxide alarms are working and safeguarding them, according to Snowe.

Obviously, the same can be said for Minnesota, which also has extraordinarily cold winters.

Essentially, the legislation would give the CPSC teeth in terms of making sure that carbon monoxide detectors are up to snuff and working. According to the Echo Press, the CPSC now only has voluntary standards for such detectors, which are set by Underwriters Laboratories.

Under the bill, these safety standards would become mandatory for all carbon monoxide detectors sold in the United States, the Echo Press reported. The legislation also lets the CPSC allocate resources to promote carbon monoxide detectors and educate the public about them.



Christmas Day Fire Leads To Connecticut Bill Mandating CO, Smoke Detectors In Homes

It doesn’t get much worse than this: Three girls and their two grandparents were killed in a Christmas Day fire in Stamford, Conn. But some good may come out of that tragic situation.

Connecticut now has a bill, prompted by that Christmas horror, that requires residential buildings to have both carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. On Thursday, that bill went through a legislative public safety committee in an 18-5 vote, according to The Hartford Courant.,0,3722778.story

There is one catch. That committee excised a part of the bill that called for fines for those who don’t comply with it. Public officials, according to The Courant, didn’t think that the fine could effectively be enforced. But they believe even without fines the bill will increase public awareness of the necessity for carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms.

The Nutmeg State already has a law that mandates that commercial buildings and multifamily structures have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, The Courant reported. But now residential buildings will be subject to the same mandate.

The original version of the pending bill included fines of $200 to $1,000, or jail for six months, or both, for infractions. But that provision has been removed.

According to The Courant, the bill also mandates that homes that are being renovated must have working carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. They can be shut off during the day when work is being done, but must be turned on again at night.

In the fatal Stamford fire, the home that went ablaze was being renovated and didn’t have working smoke detectors.

This pending bill is great in that it kills the proverbial two birds with one stone, by requiring carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms in residential buildings.