Friday, October 4, 2013

Nicole's Law: Carbon Monoxide Safety

Nicole's Law was signed into legislation late November 2005 in response to a tragedy involving the death of a 7-year old girl, Nicole, who was found unconscious due to carbon monoxide exposure. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 150 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with consumer products. Carbon monoxide, also known as the "silent killer," is dangerous because you cannot see, taste, or smell. Nicole's Law requires "all housing in the state that has enclosed parking or equipment such as boilers, furnaces, and hot water heaters powered by gas, coal, oil, or wood" to have a working carbon monoxide detector. Especially for homeowners who are looking to sell their property in the future, complying with the legislation is very important, because fire officials will check for carbon monoxide detectors upon home inspections prior to sale or transfer. If the property is not up to code, the property will not be allowed to be sold. But more importantly, safety is top priority and creating a safe environment at the very place you live should be the utmost importance. 

Here are some precautionary measures provided by the U.S. Fire Administration:
  • Open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace
  • Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home
  • Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris
  • Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning
  • Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked
While the legislation received overwhelming support from fire officials and politicians, some property owners and housing authorities called the legislation a "burden." They reasoned that additional costs, the fact that it distracts from greater dangers from fire, and carbon monoxide detectors sometimes registered false-positive leading to increase number of calls to the fire department are reasons why they opposed the law. What do you think?

For more information and safety tips:

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