Carbon monoxide detectors mandatory

By Kathleen Ellison
A&E Editor

February 28, 2013

Lock Haven City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the Property Maintenance Code to require carbon monoxide detectors/alarms in residential rental units on Monday night. This decision was prompted by a recent incident of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Over the winter break, ten female students residing at Laundry 101 reported flu-like symptoms, which turned out to be poisoning from carbon monoxide produced by a faulty heating system. No one was seriously injured.

“We were lucky and no one was seriously injured, but we need to learn from what could have been tragic and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Mayor Richard Vilello Jr. “So Lock Haven is responding and amending [the] Property Maintenance Code to add CO detectors to protect those renting apartments.”

The ordinance was decided with a vote of 5-0. The council is hopeful that this decision will encourage people in private homes to install their own carbon monoxide detectors, since the ordinance only affects rental units.

Council member Ted Forbes said, “We firmly agree that this requirement should be met in all housing and building facilities heating with these fuels.”

Any house or building that is heated by oil, wood, gas or coal is at risk for carbon monoxide emissions. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless.

Indications of poisoning can include confusion, headaches, and flu-like symptoms. Detectors of carbon monoxide should be positioned at eye level or somewhat higher. They can be battery-run or wired into the house.

Forbes expressed concern over the understaffing that prevents the inspection of more rental facilities each year.

“Talk with you[r] landlord for protection now, and do not wait for a mandated inspection. Don’t let him or her wait up to five years to comply. It’s your life,” said Forbes.

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