Prevent CO poisoning: Alarm companies should help Californians help themselves
It’s now more than a year since California’s new law mandating carbon monoxide detectors in all single-family homes with an attached garage or fossil fuel source. However, a new survey shows many residents remain unprotected.
Seems to me there’s a marketing opportunity here that alarm companies would do well to take advantage of—to not only help themselves but also California residents.
It’s true that the new law, which took effect July 1, 2011, doesn’t require Californians to opt for monitored alarms instead of ones they can buy at the hardware store. But in a story I wrote last summer, John Hopper, president of the California Alarm Association, said he believes many residents will chose the monitored option as the safest.
“The state law has positioned us to perhaps increase revenues for the industry, from sales of the devices and associated monitoring,” he told me then.
A year later, perhaps this new survey will provide added impetus for residents and alarm companies.
Below is more from a recent news release on the survey, which was done on behalf of Kidde, a manufacturer of residential fire safety products, and the California Safe Homes Coalition. Kidde is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp.
While more than half of Californians are aware of a law requiring residential carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, many residents remain unprotected, according to a survey from independent research group, Qualtrics. Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents do not have a CO alarm in their home despite the overwhelming presence of both fuel-burning appliances (84 percent) and attached garages (75 percent) – the state-determined criteria for installation and primary risk factors for accidental CO poisoning.
The results come on the eve of the law’s one-year anniversary on July 1. Nearly half of respondents without a CO alarm stated they know they need one, but haven’t found the time to install the life-saving device. Another one-third of respondents believe that they do not need an alarm even though it is the only safe way to detect CO, an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas.
“We are encouraged that many California residents have heard our message, understand the dangers of CO poisoning and have installed an alarm,” explained Kevin Nida, president, California State Firefighters’ Association (CSFA), a supporter of the California Safe Homes Coalition and co-sponsor of State Bill 183. “However, we urge those who have not yet acted to do so now. Carbon monoxide is perceived as an issue that only impacts cold-weather states, and that’s not a safe assumption. We’ve experienced the tragedy of CO poisonings here in California all too often.”
Called the ‘silent killer’ because many people do not realize they’re being poisoned until it’s too late, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It claims 400 lives and injures another 20,000 each year nationwide. California officials estimate CO poisoning causes 700 avoidable injuries and hospitalizations annually.
“I miss my sister every day. Unfortunately, no one in my family knew about CO poisoning until it was too late,” said Walnut, Calif. resident Ta Juan Campbell. His sister, Tyra Lynn, died of accidental CO poisoning in her Beverly Hills apartment in 1998. Campbell founded the Tyra Lynn Foundation to raise awareness of CO poisoning. “If you’ve put off installing a CO alarm, don’t wait. It could save your family.”
California’s law aims to protect families, while reducing the number of associated casualties. A final phase requiring CO alarms in existing multi-family residential dwellings goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013.