(WHTM) — Carbon monoxide is invisible, odorless and deadly and with the cooling weather, it’s important to make sure you’re protected.
According to the CDC, the gas kills more than 420 people and sends more than 100,000 people to emergency medical treatment each year.
This happens across the country including in the Midstate, where multiple communities have experienced the dangers of the gas this week.
In York County, 5-year-old child recently died from carbon monoxide toxicity at his family’s farm.
A family in Dauphin County also evacuated their home this week after a dog alerted them and they heard the carbon monoxide alarm going off in the basement. When emergency crews arrived they found 1,500 Parts Per Million of carbon monoxide in the house.
According to first responders, that amount is enough for a human to go unconscious in 20 minutes, and enough to be fatal in two hours.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 26 states and D.C. enforce statutes, regulations or code requirements relating to carbon monoxide detectors in schools, lodging facilities, elder care facilities and daycares.
At least 12 states, according to the conference, have also adopted the International Residential Code.
In Pennsylvania, there are both statewide and local laws that mandate the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in different spaces.
Act 121 of 2013, or the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Standards Act, put in place the following carbon monoxide alarm requirements for residential buildings, multi-family dwellings and rental properties.
- Sellers must provide information on the installation of carbon monoxide detectors upon the sale of a residential building.
- Each apartment in a multifamily dwelling with a fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage, must have an operational, centrally located and approved carbon monoxide alarm installed near the bedrooms and the fossil fuel-burning heater or fireplace.
- For rented multifamily dwellings with a fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance, fireplace or an attached garage, owners are required to provide and install the carbon monoxide detectors, replace stolen, removed, or non-functioning alarms from a previous occupant before a new occupant moves in. Owners are also require to ensure that batteries in the alarms are operating when a new occupant moves in.
The law does not require the owner of a rented multifamily dwelling to maintain, repair or replace carbon monoxide alarms, while a building is occupied. When the building is vacated, these responsibilities once again fall on the owner.
The law states that is is the responsibility of occupants to maintain, test, replace devices and batteries, and notify the owner of issues during occupancy.
Pennsylvania’s Care Facility Carbon Monoxide Alarms Standards Act of 2016 imposed carbon monoxide alarm standards on care facilities long-term care nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.
There have also been more efforts in more recent years by the state legislature to pass laws relating to carbon monoxide alarms.
Bills in both the State Senate and State House have sought to establish requirements for carbon monoxide alarms in child care centers in recent years. The most recent of these bills was House Bill 494 which passed the House on April 26, 2023 and was last moved to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on May 9, 2023.
Some municipalities also have laws relating to carbon monoxide alarms at the local level.
For example, the City of Lancaster’s smoke and carbon monoxide alarm requirements can be found here.