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COLUMN: Hurricane Sandy reminds all of importance of fire, CO alarms

— In 2010, the state passed Amanda’s law, making carbon monoxide detectors a must-have for homeowners. This law passed after Amanda Hansen, 16, of West Seneca, lost her life to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from a defective boiler when sleeping over at a friend’s house in January 2009.

CO alarms are available for purchase. If you have one but it is older than six years old, it should be replaced. Unlike fire alarms, they expire. They are similar to smoke alarms and are designed to provide warning as CO levels in the air approach dangerous levels. The State Health Department recommends selecting a CO alarm that is certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and is battery-powered or has a battery back-up. CO alarms should be placed according to manufacturer installation instructions. Test the CO alarm frequently, at least twice a year when clocks are adjusted for daylight saving time, and replace dead batteries when necessary.

New York state requires CO alarms in residences including single- and multiple-family homes, and in multiple dwellings such as hotels/motels, boarding houses, apartment buildings, fraternity and sorority buildings and school dormitories. The requirements apply to structures that have an attached garage or have appliances, devices or systems that may emit CO.

A CO alarm is not a substitute for regular maintenance of fuel-burning appliances or equipment. For assistance with CO alarm placement, please contact your local fire department.

For more information about preventing carbon monoxide poisoning, visit health.ny.gov/environmental/indoors/air/carbon_monoxide_need_to_know.htm or contact your local fire department.

Assemblyman Will Barclay represents residents of Assembly District 120, which includes Lysander. He can be reached by mail at 200 North Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by phone (598-5185).

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