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Alarms required to detect carbon monoxide in homes

If your home has smoke detectors, that’s an important safety step.  Starting in January, new homes, and existing homes that are sold, also need to have a carbon monoxide detector.   A new state law requires the sensors to prevent accidental poisonings. 

About 400 calls a year come to the Washington Poison Control Center from people who’ve suffered from carbon monoxide inside a residence.  The gas is odorless and deadly.  It can come from burning gas or other fuels.  During a snowstorm four years ago, hundreds were sickened and eight people died when they ran diesel generators or burned charcoal during a power outage. 

“Carbon monoxide is the number one cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States, yet it is completely preventable,” said Jim Williams, Executive Director of the Poison Center.

The new law also will require all apartments and dormitories to have carbon monoxide alarms over the next few years.