Compliance Date Nears for Pennsylvania Landlords to Help Keep Families Safer from Silent Killer

June 12, 2015

Less than a month after eight people were hospitalized following elevated carbon monoxide (CO) levels in five Montgomery County row homes, a new law taking effect should make more Pennsylvania families safer. As of June 18, state law will require CO alarms in apartments and multi-family properties that have fossil-fuel burning heat or appliances, fireplaces or an attached garage. Kidde’s Worry-Free sealed-battery carbon monoxide alarms comply with the new law and offer an added bonus of never needing a battery replaced during the life of the alarm. Kidde Fire Safety, a leading manufacturer of residential fire safety products, is a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

Carbon monoxide is the top cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the U.S., and responsible for an average of 400 deaths and more than 20,000 emergency room visits each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

U.S. Census data shows more than three out of four Pennsylvania homes use gas as a primary heating source, which emits carbon monoxide. If a furnace, water heater, fireplace, generator or other fuel-burning device malfunctions or is not properly ventilated, CO can seep into the home. CO is odorless, tasteless and invisible, and residents often mistake symptoms for the flu. While most incidents occur in cold weather, the use of generators, gas grills and other items make CO poisoning a year-round risk.

“The Montgomery County incident is a prime example of the importance of this law,” said Rep. Frank Farry, who is also chief of Langhorne-Middletown Fire Company. “A generator was running inside one home, and CO seeped into four others. When dwellings share connected walls, it’s very important that property managers and tenants remember that compliance to this law affects not just one family, but the safety of all their neighbors.”

Originally passed in mid-December 2013, the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Standards Act defines multi-family dwellings as buildings with more than two units, and requires operational CO alarms centrally located and installed near bedrooms of any unit that uses a fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance, fireplace, or has an attached garage. Property owners had 18 months to comply. They are responsible for installing, repairing and maintaining the alarms until occupancy. After that, the tenant is responsible. 

For more information about safety tips regarding carbon monoxide, please visit www.knowaboutco.com.