ECS UltraGuard Leads Charge for Legislation Requiring CO Detectors

NORWALK, Conn. — A carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning incident at a University of Vermont dormitory and some additional lobbying by the founder of Electronic Control Systems (ECS) has produced legislation in Vermont to make CO detectors mandatory in the state.

ECS president Geoffrey Winters, long an advocate for preventing high CO exposure in buldings, helped Vermont legislators draft a bill on CO detection. ECS manufactures the UltraGuard Life Safety System, which not only detects CO, but also shuts down the furnace that is usually he cause of increased CO levels.

In January, CO levels of nearly twice the level that causes people to black out overcame students in a dorm at the university in Burlington, Va. One student died and nine others were injured, including two with brain damage.

The incident produced quick action by the Vermont legislature. Off of testimony that included an address by Winters, both houses of the Vermont legislature passed bills in March that require CO detectors in new homes and existing homes for sale, as well as dormitories and hotel rooms.

“The biggest thing with a lot of these legislators is they recognize they have the responsibility but they don’t fully understand carbon monoxide,” Winters says. “Carbon monoxide is as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than fire because it’s invisible. You don’t think you’re being attacked by it.”

Vermont is the latest state to work on CO requirements for homes and buildings. Alaska earlier this year mandated CO detectors for most homes, while Texas is working on strengthening its existing law. Legislation is also pending in Connecticut, Illinois and Massachusetts.

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