Well, let’s hope the death of Virginia Brecheisen, an 82-year-old woman from East Stroudsberg, Pa., will guarantee passage of a law requiring carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in many homes.

That was sentiment expressed by a writer for the Pocono Record in the wake of Brecheisen’s death last Thursday at her home on Kistler Street. She died of carbon monoxide poisoning on an upper level of her home after leaving her car running in her ground-level garage.

Pennsylvania State Reps. Mike Carroll and Mario Scavello are co-sponsoring a bill that they expect to pass next year. It mandates that all newly constructed and newly sold homes have carbon monoxide detectors, according to the Pocono Record.

The law would require residential buildings with “a fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance, fireplace or attached garage to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed whenever the building is sold,” according to the Pocono Times.

And multi-family rental units with fossil fuel-burning heating or an attached garage would also have to install carbon monoxide detectors within 12 months of the law passing, the Pocono Times reported.

One of the hitches of the bill is that it doesn’t mandate that current homeowners install carbon monoxide alarms unless they sell their homes.

Those covered under the bill who don’t install or maintain a carbon monoxide alarm can be fined $50, according to the Pocono Record. Anyone who tampers with or takes out the batteries of a carbon monoxide detector in a residential building would be subject to a $500 fine, with a second offense punishable by a $3,000 fine.

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.



Laurie Pendergast is taking action to ensure that her brother’s death wasn’t in vain.

The Rhode Island woman is pushing for legislation across many states to mandate that hotels have carbon monoxide detectors, according to a story posted online by the TV station WPRI.

Pendergast’s brother, Bill Moran, earlier this year died of carbon monoxide poisoning at a Holiday Inn Express hotel in South Charleston, W. Va.

Moran’s death prompted West Virginia’s state Senate to quickly introduce a bill that makes it mandatory for hotels, motels, dorms and nursing homes to install carbon monoxide detectors, according to WPRI.

The bill was introduced roughly one month from the day when Moran died.

Pendergast told WPRI that she wants other states to pass a similar law, and that she plans to go to West Virginia to see its hotel carbon monoxide detector bill signed into law.