TRI-COUNTY AREA—Amanda’s Law requires that most homes in New York now have a carbon monoxide detector installed.
The law took effect Monday, Feb. 22. It is named after Amanda Hansen, 16, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning last year.
According to the law a carbon monoxide detector must be installed in one-family and two-family homes (built or sold after July 13, 2010), dwellings located in condominiums or cooperatives (built or sold after July 13, 2010), and multiple dwellings (built or sold after Aug. 9, 2005). The law applies to homes with appliances that emit carbon monoxide or have an attached garage. The Fireman’s Association of the State of New York explained that the law makes an exception for homes that use combustion-free energy sources, such as electric for heating and cooking, and have no potential sources of carbon monoxide, like an attached garage.
Glenn Miller, Yates County Emergency Management Services director, said last week area fire departments had a number of incidents with carbon monoxide detectors going off. He said this usually happens more in the winter months area. He said the detectors are a good idea because people do not always know there is a problem. Miller explained carbon monoxide can build up in appliances that are not working properly. This includes:
• Gas or oil-burning furnace
• Gas water heater
• Gas or kerosene burning heater
• Gas oven or stove
• Fireplace or wood stove
Bill Kennedy, Schuyler County Emergency Management Services director, said the law is a great idea. He explained no one in Schuyler County has died from carbon monoxide poisoning lately. However, Kennedy added there are four to five incidents each year, with alarms or people ill from the poisoning.
According to Schuyler’s EMS, carbon monoxide is known as “the silent killer.” You cannot see it, smell it, or taste it. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is produced by fuel-burning heating equipment, such as furnaces, wood stoves, fireplaces, and kerosene heaters.
The detectors can warn you if too much carbon monoxide is in your home. EMS suggests putting the alarm near where people sleep. If the detector goes off, you should immediately leave the house and call 911.
Carbon monoxide can build up in your home if you use equipment and appliances that burn fuel but are not working properly. The EMS also recommends clearing snow from outside vents and exhausts.