December 31, 2012 – New laws taking effect in 2013 include a requirement that apartments and other multi-family housing units with gas-burning appliances and/or attached garages now have carbon monoxide detectors installed.
The Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act (SB 183) mandated that single-family homes have detectors in place in 2011, with hotels and motels to be compliant by 2016.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and potentially fatal gas generated from indoor heating and cooking appliances. The Office of the State Fire Marshal reports that it kills about 480 people each year in the United States while hospitalizing more than 20,000.
Only a detector can measure carbon monoxide levels, but nine in 10 California homes are not equipped with one, according to the state fire marshal. Detectors cost as little as $20 at many major retailers.
Owners and landlords of multi-family leased and rental properties face a $200 fine if detectors are not installed by the New Year.
The Long Beach Fire Department advises that detectors should be placed near all sleeping quarters on all floors, similar to smoke alarms. Furthermore, it is important to check pilot lights on gas appliances to ensure the flame is blue. If it is yellow, carbon monoxide is likely present. Finally, inspect appliances to ensure they work property and are well ventilated.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Victims sometimes confuse it with food poisoning.
For more information regarding SB 183, visit http://osfm.fire.ca.gov.