Senator Flanagan Reminding Homeowners About New Carbon Monoxide Law

John J. Flanagan

March 10, 2010

Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) is reminding all homeowners about a new law that requires most residences in New York State to have at least one working carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.  The new law has been in effect since February 22, 2010 and affects all residences with appliances, devices, or systems that emit carbon monoxide.

This new law is named in honor of Amanda Hansen, a 16-year-old from West Seneca, New York who died from carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping at a friend’s house.  The source of the carbon monoxide was a faulty boiler in the home.

Under the measure supported by Senator Flanagan, homes built after January 1st, 2008 are now required to have CO detectors hard-wired into the building.  Homes constructed prior to January 1, 2008 are required to have detectors but the owners are permitted to install battery-powered CO alarms.

At least one carbon monoxide detector must be installed on the lowest floor of existing one and two family residences having a sleeping area.  The alarm must be clearly audible in all sleeping areas over background noise levels when all intervening doors are closed.

The new law also requires contractors or any other person in New York State to install a CO alarm when replacing an appliance, device, or system that emits carbon monoxide must install a detector if the home is not already adequately equipped.  Violators will be subject to a penalty of up to $100. 

This important law also requires the posting of the new carbon monoxide requirement on appliances, devices, or systems displayed for sale that emit carbon monoxide.
 Amanda’s Law replaces prior statute that required only homes built or bought after July 30, 2002 to have these devices installed.

Carbon monoxide may be produced when burning any type of fuel, including wood, gasoline, natural gas, oil and coal.  According to the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, CO is a odorless, poisonous gas and inhaling it can lead to breathing difficulties, impaired judgment and memory, damage to the nervous system, cardiac trauma, brain damage, coma and even death.

Everyone is susceptible, but the American Medical Association says that unborn and young children, pregnant women, senior citizens and people with heart or respiratory problems are at the highest risk for serious injury or death.  The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for the flu and can include dizziness, fatigue, weakness, throbbing headache, nausea, vomiting, irregular breathing, sleepiness and confusion. By the time people realize there is a problem, they are often too sick or too disoriented to get out of the house and get help.

“I urge all homeowners that have yet to install a carbon monoxide detector to get one immediately for the safety of their family.  As we see all too often, carbon monoxide is a silent killer and the installation of these devices saves lives,” stated Senator Flanagan.  “It is vital that people safeguard their own homes but also that they and their family are protected regardless of where they are.”

Click here for Office of Fire Prevention and Control's CO Toolkit