Mapping CO legislation—and business opportunities

A new interactive map by System Sensor tracks CO laws as they’re enacted state by state, helping dealers identify new markets for the devices
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ST. CHARLES, Ill.—Dealers and installers: It’s now easier than ever to keep up to date on new carbon-monoxide detector legislation that can lead to increased business, thanks to a revised interactive CO map developed by System Sensor.

The map allows anyone using it to click on various states and read about the status of any CO laws there.

System Sensor, which makes fire detection and notification devices, including carbon monoxide detectors, was touting the map at the ISC West show in Las Vegas in March. The company has been keeping track of CO legislation for several years, said David George, director of communications.

“When we started the effort, there were probably less than 15 states [with CO laws] and now we’re up to 36,” George told Security Systems News. “This is the third generation of some format of keeping track of CO legislation. We used to keep it on a spreadsheet that we’d turn into a PDF that we’d post online. This is much more interactive than previous versions have been.”

Clicking on the map shows, for example, that Arkansas enacted a law in January requiring CO detectors in new homes, and that New Mexico as of last July required them in residences with a fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage. The map is updated regularly, George said.

But how can such laws generate business for fire companies when many residents just rely on battery-powered CO detectors bought from a department store?

George acknowledged: “I don’t know of one jurisdiction that has required a monitored CO detector.” He said that’s largely because only roughly 20 percent of the nation’s homes have monitored security or fire alarms.

However, he said, System Sensor aims to educate dealers that they can sell CO alarms to customers along with monitored security and/or fire alarm systems. “We think they’re missing an opportunity if they don’t say at the same time, ‘Oh, by the way, at the same time you’re getting security or fire, you can also include monitored CO,” he said.

George added, “We’re still advocating that any detection is better than none, but monitored CO detection is the best.”