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Proviso Probe

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

PO-PO, have you bought your Carbon Monoxide detectors yet?

WQAD (Moline, IL):
Fire Chiefs in Illinois are spreading the word about a new law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in homes and apartments across the state.

It starts January first. ''You need one carbon monoxide detector within 15 feet of every sleeping area'', said State Fire Marshall Dave Foreman at a news conference at the East Moline Fire Department on Monday. ''If you've got sleeping areas on two floors, you're probably going to need two''.

Have you gotten your Carbon Monoxide detector yet? Will you?

Or would you rather save the money ($25-$105 each)?

And what role did the manufacturers of Carbon Monoxide detectors play in passing this new law?

9 Comments:

  • Don't have a clue what role the manufacturers have in getting the law passed. People should WANT to protect their families with the detectors. I have had one in my home for many, many years (actually have replaced it already). This should be a no-brainer much like a smoke detector. Especially if you have gas forced air heat in your home or apartment.

    By Anonymous Detectors Save Lives, at 11:49 AM, December 12, 2006  

  • I'm thinking that the few CO deaths happen in buildings with specific heating systems of a specific age.

    Why should a landlord of an electrically heated building need to build CO detectors?

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 8:15 PM, December 12, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:41 PM, December 12, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:41 AM, December 13, 2006  

  • If you post, use a pseudonym. Do not post under "anonymous".

    Thanks.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 4:20 PM, December 13, 2006  

  • This law WILL SAVE LIVES. I am pretty sure the CO detector manufactures had nothing to do with this law. For once I think Illinois is ahead of the curve on this one.
    I can speak from personel experience. My brother lives with my mother. Since he maintains the house, I was on him for two years to put Co detectors in. Two weeks after he finnaly did he called me and said both detectors were sounding. I happened to be working. I told him to open windows and get himself and mom out of the house. When I got there the readings were well over 100PPM.
    The F.D. meters alarm at 35PPM. (Parts per million). At this level (35PPM) headaches and mild symtoms occur after even a short exposure. Carbon Monoxide absorbs into the blood many times faster and easier than oxygen does. This is why it is so fatal. Even at low levels long term exposure and cause serious health problems.
    To the question on the age of the heating unit; the above meantioned was only around six-ten years old. Not very old at all. I have been on calls where the units are newer than that and fail, or an animal builds a nest in the chimney and it backs up into the house.
    To the question on if it is electric heat. There is an exemption to the law, in brief if no fossil fuels are used to cook, heat, heat water, ventilate, the garage is not attached or is not sufficiently close to a ventilated source of Carbon monoxide from a heat source.
    Just one more warning; I have run across this on my job. If you have an attached garage warm the vehicle up outside. I have been on high level CO Calls in the winter where the occupants open the garage door and start their car still parked inside the garage. Or they barely back it out and the wind is blowing in the right direction to send it right back into the garage. Your door to the house or attic hatch will not keep it out.
    Have a safe winter all.

    By Anonymous firefighter for a long time, at 9:55 PM, December 13, 2006  

  • First, I don't see a point in censoring anonymous posts. Whether posted under a pseudonym or as anonymous it's the content that matters. Censoring anonymous posts is just that censorship.

    Second, to restate my previous post, yes this law will save lives, all 200 of them nationally (according to Blago's release) and at an exorbitant cost. In return the carbon monoxide detector industry (and the battery manufacturers for that matter) will make a very handsome profit. I'm sure they lobbied for this feverishly over the last few years. In reality, people have a significantly higher chance of dying by falling out of bed than from carbopn monoxide. I'd venture to say that stopping cigarette sales in Illinois would save far more people annually just in Illinois, but that would be detrimental to a fairly large industry and have a negative impact on the fisc. (I'm not picking on smokers, but the comparison seemed appropriate since we're talking about products of combustion.)

    Third, I think the recent carbon monoxide accidents publicized by the media - I don't suspect a conspiracy here, but definitely some slow news days - are only adding to irrational "panic". Some of the people that were poisoned were doing foolish things like burning a charcoal grill inside their home or running a combustion engine in a closed garage. Sounds like the money that some of us will shell out for carbon monoxide detectors would be better spent on education.

    Fourth, this law is bunk. It will be generally unenforceable against anyone but landlords. I don't see the police or the fire marshall going around and checking houses, and I have a hunch that checking for carbon monoxide detector compliance does not rise to the level of "exigent circumstances" carved out by the Supreme Court out of the 4th amendment. The only people that have a chance of being tried or convicted aside of the landlords are the victims, and I just don't see too many judges throwing victims into the pokey. As far as this last point is concerned, I suspect that the law if enforced will disproportionately affect the poor as they are probably more likely to have defective furnaces and little money to spend on a detector and the accompanying batteries.

    By Anonymous Suomynona, at 10:05 AM, December 19, 2006  

  • Here's why I delete anonymous posts.

    It becomes confusing if more than one person is posting under "anonymous". It greatly improves readability of the comments to have people be able to refer to comments by the author's pseudonym.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 1:06 PM, December 19, 2006  

  • Suomynona; what you are saying is that a law that saves even one live should not be passed? You mention it’s only going to hurt the poor and landlords. Many of the poor people you mentioned live in those buildings owned by the landlords and it would be protecting the poor. Like I also mentioned in my previous post the heating units do not have to be old to fail. I have seen units fail that are only a few years old as well as improperly installed vents for hot water heaters, or a cracked flu. I have also seen the drier vents that claim to save on heating costs by venting back into the house. Read the directions and it says for electric driers only!!!! If you install one on a natural gas drier that vents back into the home it can kill you. These are lives that may have already been saved by the detectors that were installed voluntarily. These are samples of responses I have been on personally. The death toll would be higher, no doubt in my mind.
    I agree cigarettes are not good for anyone’s health, steps have been taken to make second hand smoke in public places not only less offensive to non-smokers but lessen the effect of second hand smoke for health reasons. Illinois either has or was looking to pass a bill for self extinguishing cigarettes to lessen fires which in turn will lessen fire deaths.
    I would love to see the study that shows more people die each year falling out of bed than from CO poisoning. Maybe kids fall from bunk beds, elderly that can not move well normally fall from beds and die not normally healthy people, your comparing apples and oranges. CO kills healthy people as well as the weak it doesn’t discriminate. Falling out of bed is an accident that may or may not be preventable. CO deaths are preventable! CO detectors already do and will save lives much like working smoke detectors do.
    Enforcement I agree will be difficult. We cannot go into someone’s home to inspect it unless asked to, however like smoke detectors once the fire department or police department is called to a residence for another emergency or service call and we are inside the building it can be enforced with a ticket if necessary but most likely the resident or owner will just be reminded of the law. Enforcement would come into play if someone died or became ill at the home, tickets can be issued. In this case there may even be legal footing for criminal charges. It could also become a civil case based on the law i.e.: negligence. This may in turn cause it to fall back onto the city or municipality for not enforcing the law. It could wind up costing the tax payers in the long run if a civil suit was brought against a municipality due to non-enforcement of the law. It is a catch twenty two for municipalities. The lawyers may wind up having a field day with this one, especially if it’s a non-family member visiting the home that falls victim.
    I personally hope most people comply willingly and enforcement does not become necessary. In the end it’s a small cost to have piece of mind for your friends, family, or visitors in your home.

    By Anonymous firefighter for a long, at 4:55 PM, December 20, 2006  

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