Why It Makes Sense to Acquire Carbon Monoxide Alarm System

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By November 2, 2004, New York City’s 2.8 million housing units must install at least one carbon monoxide (CO) alarm within 15 feet of sleeping areas. New York has joined many other cities and states in requiring CO alarms by law, just as smoke alarms are required.

Why did the city pass this law? Accidental CO poisoning has killed six people and sent another 27 to New York City hospitals since the start of the year. Sixty people were evacuated-with 27 hospitalized-following an incident on University Avenue in the Bronx. Another occurrence led to the evacuation of five homes in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, CO poisoning is the number one cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the country, killing 1,500 people each year. An estimated 10,000-40,000 people nationwide seek medical attention annually in hospital emergency rooms. Countless others never seek care or are misdiagnosed as having the flu. Make no mistake - CO poisoning is not the flu. It is a dangerous gas that, in extreme cases, results in death.

Our research indicates that many people are unaware of this important law and the compliance deadline. Ensuring compliance is everyone’s responsibility, from homeowners to landlords and property managers. Because you can’t see, smell or taste CO, a working alarm is the only way to guard against a malfunctioning appliance producing carbon monoxide. Our company, First Alert, is the leading manufacturer of home safety products. We have been pre-building alarms to meet the demand in New York City so that each and every housing unit can install alarms and feel safe from this insidious killer.

First Alert is proud to lead the way by providing UL listed carbon monoxide alarms that offer the highest level of protection and accuracy. Our high quality CO alarms are readily available and comply with the new law. There are many reasonably priced CO alarms on the market in the $15-40 range. Battery powered alarms and plug-in alarms with battery back-up will, of course, provide protection in a power outage and are required by the law.

Even though the law doesn’t take effect until November 2, it is wise to install an alarm now. We have received hundreds of letters from families thanking us for saving their lives because they installed CO alarms on their own, with no law requiring them to do so. CO poisoning can happen at any time and anywhere to anyone. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that every home install a CO alarm near the sleeping area. Additional alarms offer added protection.

CO alarms are readily available from local independent suppliers, distributors such as Home Depot Supply, Graybar and Wilmar, and retailers including Ace Hardware, Duane-Reade drug stores, Home Depot, Target, TruServe and other home improvement stores.

A CO alarm is a small investment that can prevent a lifetime of heartache. New York’s new CO law can, and certainly will, save the lives of loved ones, friends and neighbors.

Mr. Colello is Senior Vice President and General Manager BRK Brands, Manufacturers of First Alert

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