[Editor's note: The following was submitted by Jim Palisi, Fire Marshal, San Carlos Fire Department.]
As the colder weather starts to settle in and the use of fossil fuel heating increases, the San Carlos Fire Department is reminding residents that November is Carbon Monoxide Awareness month. All residents should be aware of the importance of having a working carbon monoxide alarm in their homes.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced from heaters, fireplaces, furnaces, and many types of appliances and cooking devices. Each year, CO claims the lives of an average of 480 people, and sends more than 20,000 people to emergency rooms, nationwide.
In San Mateo County, there have been incidents of CO poisoning in recent years from in-house heating and furnaces, which have been life-threatening and nearly disastrous.
The best way for homeowners to stay protected from CO is to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed on every floor and outside each sleeping area. A recent study found that nearly nine in 10 California households did not have a CO alarm. Combination CO/smoke alarms are available.
As of July 1, 2011, state law requires owners of single family homes with attached garages or fossil fuel sources for heating to install carbon monoxide alarms in every California home. In addition, all other dwelling units, like apartments, are required to have an alarm by January 1, 2013.
California's Carbon Monoxide Month is intended to help educate homeowners about the law and to encourage them to install a carbon monoxide alarm. The San Carlos Fire Department is teaming up with Cal Fire, the Office of the State Fire Marshal and fire departments across the state, as well as other State agencies to spread the word about the dangers of CO and how to keep families and friends safe.
For more information on carbon monoxide visit the Cal Fire website at http://www.fire.ca.gov/communications/communications_firesafety_carbonmonoxide.php or visit the website for the California Department of Public Health at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/
Jim Palisi, Fire Marshal, San Carlos Fire Department (650) 802-4309 or