A new state law went into effect Monday requiring an operable carbon monoxide detector in nearly all homes and other residences. The legislation is called “Amanda's Law,” named after an upstate teenager who died of carbon-monoxide poisoning when a boiler malfunctioned at her friend’s home. It changes the state building code, mandating that detectors be in any residence with an adjoining garage or appliance that produces the gas.

A new state law went into effect Monday requiring an operable carbon monoxide detector in nearly all homes and other residences.

The legislation is called “Amanda's Law,” named after an upstate teenager who died of carbon-monoxide poisoning when a boiler malfunctioned at her friend’s home. It changes the state building code, mandating that detectors be in any residence with an adjoining garage or appliance that produces the gas.

“To me, it’s long overdue ... I think there should have been a law like this in place for years,” said Hornell, N.Y., firefighter Steve Foster. “Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas. It’s odorless, tasteless. People think they have the flu when really it’s carbon monoxide poisoning — low levels with long term exposure will kill you.”

The law states that the detector must be installed on the lowest level of the house with a bedroom and leaves enforcement of the law up to local governments.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the gas kills about 400 people and injures over 20,000 each year in the United States. Most of the deaths resulting from unsafe levels of the gas accumulating from appliances that are not properly ventilated. 

“If a carbon monoxide alarm goes off they need to call 911 and get out of the house. It’s as simple as that,” said Foster.

Cheap carbone monoxide detectors cost $20. More expensive detectors — ones that display the actual parts per million of the gas in the air — can cost more than $50.

“It’s something people should have in their home and we just require certain things for safety,” said Jeff Johnson, Hornell city director of property management and community revitalization.

The law does not require detectors in homes that have combustion-free appliances, such as an electric furnace or stove. Residences built after 2008 must have a permanent detector hard-wired in.

The law also applies to condominiums, hotels, schools and boarding houses, and other living quarters.

Another state law that goes into effect today restricts teenage drivers and requires them to now wait six months after getting their learner permit to schedule a road test and requires the number of non-family passengers younger than 21 riding in a vehicle when not accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian to go from two to one.

The Evening Tribune