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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: February 6, 2013 09:31 AM
From: Senator Patrick M. Browne
To: All Senate members
Subject: Carbon Monoxide Alarms
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce Senate Bill 920 from the 2011-12 session, which establishes the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Standards Act.

As you may know, as of January 1, 2010, the Pennsylvania Building Code requires all newly constructed homes and certain existing homes that have fossil fuel burning heaters or appliances and or an attached garage to install a carbon monoxide detector. These requirements are similar to code requirements for smoke detectors.

For residential buildings, the legislation requires the seller to disclose information regarding the installation of carbon monoxide detectors on the property disclosure statement. For multifamily dwellings, the legislation requires each apartment in a multifamily dwelling that has a fossil fuel-burning heater/appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage must have an operational, centrally located and approved carbon monoxide alarm installed within one year of the effective date of the act.

For rental properties, the legislation requires the owner of a multifamily dwelling having a fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance, fireplace or an attached garage used for rental purposes and required to be equipped with one or more approved carbon monoxide alarms shall install an operational, centrally located and approved carbon monoxide alarm in the vicinity of the bedrooms and the fossil fuel-burning heater or fireplace; replace any approved carbon monoxide alarms that have been stolen, removed, found missing or rendered inoperable prior to new occupancy in the rental property; and ensure that batteries in each approved carbon monoxide alarm are in operating condition at the time the new occupant takes residence.

The legislation also provides that willful failure to install or maintain in operating condition any approved carbon monoxide alarm required by the act is a summary offense punishable by a fine of up to $50.

Exposure to Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a major problem in the Commonwealth. According to a 2007 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pennsylvania leads the nation in fatalities as a result of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poison deaths in the nation. It is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that kills about 500 people and sends more than 20,000 to the emergency room annually.

Most carbon monoxide-related fatalities and poisonings can be prevented though the use of a carbon monoxide alarm, which is the only way to detect this silent killer.

Cosponsor of Senate Bill 920 of the 2011-12 session included Senators SOLOBAY, FONTANA, STACK, COSTA, YUDICHAK, FARNESE, BLAKE and BREWSTER.

Introduced as SB607