Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Amanda Law

On February 22, 2010, new legislation took effect in New York State requiring the installation of carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Under “Amanda’ Law,” all new and existing one and two-family homes, multifamily homes and rentals with a fuel-burning appliance, system, or attached garage must have CO alarms. This legislation expands upon the previous law which only required CO alarms in new homes or when a home was sold and is intended to help save lives from a silent, odorless, and colorless killer.

This revised law requires homes built prior to 2008 to have a CO alarm installed on the lowest story having a sleeping area, while those built after 2008 must have a CO alarm on each story with a sleeping area or where a source of CO is located. Homes built prior to 2008 will be permitted to have battery-powered alarms, but homes constructed after January 1, 2008 will need to have the alarms hard-wired with battery-backup.

CO is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the U.S. Each year more than 400 people die from accidental, non-fire-related CO poisoning and over 20,000 people visit emergency departments for CO-related health effects. In New York State between 2000 and 2006, 870 residents were hospitalized for unintentional non-fire-related CO poisoning.

A recent NYSDOH survey estimates that over 70% of NYS residents already have at least one CO alarm. However, a separate survey of NYS residents conducted for Kidde, a manufacturer of CO alarms, suggests households may not have enough alarms for the size of their home and some people may not be aware of the need to periodically replace a CO alarm. Results from the Kidde survey can be accessed at:,8070,pageId%3D20077%26siteId%3D384,00.html.

CO alarms should be properly installed and operated on each floor and near sleeping areas and should be replaced every five years unless the manufacturer specifies a different time period.

More information is available on the New York State Department of Health website: DOH has a good supply of CO hazard awareness materials. Publications and fact sheets may be downloaded or ordered directly from the distribution center using the order form on the web page.

The NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) website also offers a variety of CO safety information and resources, including the latest CO building code text, on their website: