The State Fire Marshall required owners of single family homes that have a fossil-fuel burning appliance, fireplace, or attached garage to install CO alarms by July 1, 2011.
According to the American Medical Association, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that carbon monoxide kills approximately 500 people each year and injures another 20,000 people nationwide.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a person cannot see or smell carbon monoxide. At high levels carbon monoxide can kill a person in minutes. Carbon monoxide is produced whenever any fuel, such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal, is burned.
The State Air Resources Board estimates that every year carbon monoxide accounts for between 30 and 40 avoidable deaths, possibly thousands of avoidable illnesses, and between 175 and 700 avoidable emergency room and hospital visits.
There are well-documented chronic health effects of acute carbon monoxide poisoning or prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide, including, but not limited to, lethargy, headaches, concentration problems, amnesia, psychosis, Parkinson’s disease, memory impairment, and personality alterations.
Experts estimate that equipping every home with a carbon monoxide device would cut accident-related costs by 93 percent. Eighteen states and a number of large cities have laws mandating the use of carbon monoxide devices.
Carbon monoxide devices provide a vital, highly effective, and low-cost protection against carbon monoxide poisoning and these devices should be made available to every home in California.
An owner of a dwelling unit intended for human occupancy shall install a carbon monoxide device, approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal pursuant to Section 13263, in each existing dwelling unit having a fossil fuel burning heater or appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage, within the earliest applicable time period as follows: (1) For all existing single-family dwelling units intended for human occupancy on or before July 1, 2011. (2) For all other existing dwelling units intended for human occupancy on or before January 1, 2013.