The Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) wants to remind communities in the Long Beach area that the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act, also known as Senate Bill – SB 183, which requires that a carbon-monoxide (CO) device be installed in all residential dwelling units, goes into effect for apartments and multi-family dwelling units having fossil-fuel burning appliances and/or attached garages on Jan. 1.
SB-183 went into effect for single-family dwelling units having fossil-fuel burning appliances and/or attached garages on July 1, 2011, and it will go into effect for hotels and motels on Jan. 1, 2016.
CO is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced from heaters, fireplaces, furnaces and many types of appliances and cooking devices. The only way to detect the poisonous and potentially fatal gas is with a detector.
According to the State Fire Marshal’s Office, CO claims the lives of an average of 480 people and sends more than 20,000 people to emergency rooms across the nation. The best way for homeowners to stay protected from carbon monoxide is to have a CO-detector installed on every floor and outside each sleeping area. The California Office of the State Fire Marshal cited a recent study that found nearly nine in 10 California households don’t have a CO detector. Many consumers are likely unaware of the need to have their homes equipped and many may need to remind their landlords to act, according to the LBFD. Property owners or landlords of multi-family rental dwellings, such as apartment buildings, are required to comply with the law and are responsible for installation. Tenants whose units do not have a CO detector are encouraged to follow up with landlords by requesting one. Failure to equip a property with CO detectors is a violation of state law punishable by a maximum fine of $200 for each offense. CO detectors do not take the place of smoke detectors; there must be both to fully. The LBFD adds that now is a good time to replace batteries on existing detector. The following are some guidelines to help protect against CO poisoning:
• Install a CO detector near each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Ensure that the alarms are plugged in the outlet or, if battery operated, have working batteries installed. Make certain each person can hear the CO alarm sounds from his or her sleeping room.
• Have fuel burning heating equipment and chimneys inspected by a qualified professional every year before cold weather arrives. During the heating season, clear filters and filtering systems of dust and dirt.
• Be sure to open the flue for adequate ventilation when using a fireplace.
• Inspect the pilot lights on natural gas appliances to ensure that the flame is blue. When a flame is mostly yellow in color, it likely is producing CO.
• Clean out the lint and debris that may build up in the clothes dryer vent which leads to the outside of the house.
• Ensure that all space heaters are free of dust and are vented properly. Likewise, only use generators in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors, and vent openings.
• Use barbeque grills outside only and never indoors or in the garage.
• Never leave an auto running in a garage; even for a couple of minutes and not even if the overhead garage door is open.