ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Security Industry Association (SIA), in conjunction with several other groups, is supporting bipartisan legislation reintroduced by Congressman Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and Congressman Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) to increase the use of life-saving residential carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.
The Residential Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act is similar to legislation that was approved by the House of Representatives in the last session of Congress, but the Senate did not vote on the bill. The Senate version was introduced by Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
“Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in this country,” Matheson says. “There’s a simple way to lower that number — installation of CO detectors in homes and residences.”
The bill sets up a grant program to encourage states to enact a rule or law requiring all dwelling units and apartment buildings to have CO alarms. States with greater than average fatalities from CO poisoning and those serving vulnerable populations, such as children or seniors, would be given priority. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will administer the grant program.
In an earlier Congressional hearing on CO poisoning, an official with CPSC testified that only 35 to 50% of U.S. households have CO alarms. He said that working with state and local authorities is critical to dispensing information on the dangers of CO poisoning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, CO kills 500 people annually in the U.S. and sickens more than 20,000.
“SIA supports the enactment of legislation that provides standards for CO detectors,” SIA Director of Government Relations Marcus Dunn says. “Federal support for installation of these live-saving devices is always an added incentive.”