Every house need a carbon monoxide monitor.

All homes sold or leased after Jan. 1, 2023, will be required to have at least one life-long, operable, sealed-battery carbon monoxide detector, according to a new law passed this year. Carbon monoxide is sometimes called the “silent killer,” because it is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. But it can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, confusion and eventually death. The gas builds up when fuel burns. It is a particularly serious problem in Louisiana in the wake of hurricanes and other severe weather that knock out power, causing families to turn to generators. Carbon monoxide poisoning killed 81 Louisiana residents and hospitalized hundreds more in 2021, according to the Louisiana Department of Health — six of those deaths occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida alone.

Hurricane Ida may have been the nail to make this law.

During Hurricane Laura the year before, at least eight people died from carbon monoxide poisoning. “These changes are the direct result of the tragic aftermath of the 2020 and 2021 hurricane disasters across our state that saw more than a dozen carbon monoxide-related deaths and dozens more hospitalizations, all attributed to both portable and standby generator use,” said State Fire Marshal Dan Wallis in a statement. “We’re grateful to the housing and real estate industry for being proactive ahead of the law change to ensure everyone is appropriately educated on this effort to save lives well before the law goes into effect.” The law was created during the 2022 legislative session in a collaboration between the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, R-New Orleans, who was inspired to write the legislation after a personal experience with carbon monoxide poisoning during Ida. Hilferty said she was staying at her mother-in-law’s house in New Orleans, which was equipped with a home generator, and had decided to bring a portable carbon monoxide detector to plug into the wall. At about 3 a.m., the detector began beeping — carbon monoxide seeped through the floor and had reached dangerous levels in the home. Without the detector present, Hilferty and her family may not have known they were in danger. “The thing about it is you can’t smell it or see it, and the effects of it are fatigue, headache — things that you would just experience while living with eight family members and a generator,” Hilferty said.

New homes were required to have a carbon monoxide monitor.

Prior to the passage of this law earlier this year, only new constructions in Louisiana were required to have carbon monoxide detectors installed, according to Ashley Rodrigue, Public Affairs Director for the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office. Carbon monoxide detectors are similar to smoke alarms — they are relatively cheap and easily found in hardware stores. Hilferty hopes that even those not selling or leasing a home soon may see this law and remember to get an alarm for their home. The new law will also require carbon monoxide alarms to be installed at the same time a home generator is installed. “I obviously don’t want to see any tragic events, especially fatalities, happen to any of our residents here,” Hilferty said. “Especially when it’s such a quick fix and something easy to install.” The Louisiana Department of Health also recommends homeowners prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping generators out of enclosed structures like garages, placing them 20 feet away from the home, and ensuring entry points into the home like doors and windows near the generator are sealed off.

A good law that will save lives.

Carbon monoxide kills and a law cuts down the happening.
Tagged on: