2015-04-15 / Features

FDNY: City Residences Must Have Working Carbon Monoxide Detectors


Following the recent, tragic deaths of four senior citizens who perished from high levels of carbon monoxide inside a Floral Park home, FDNY officials are again urging Queens residents to make sure they have installed a working carbon monoxide detector. People living in houses with an attached garage are also urged to install a carbon monoxide detector in their garage, and to make sure vehicles and fuel operated appliances are turned off before leaving the garage.

“Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the “silent killer” for good reason,” fire officials said. “It’s an odorless killer that creeps up on its’ victims as they sleep and when they are at home relaxing, least expecting it to strike.”

Under current New York City law, owners of apartment buildings are private dwellings are required to install and maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within 15 feet of sleeping areas. Residents in apartments that have not been equipped with the detectors are urged to call 311 to report the condition.

The state legislature passed Amanda’s Law in 2009, named after a 15-year-old girl who died in a friend’s home that did not have a carbon monoxide detector. Under the law, homes built before January 2, 2008, must have a battery-powered detector. Homes built after 2008 must have alarms hard-wired into the building, the law states.

Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can be produced from improperly vented furnaces, plugged or cracked chimneys, water heaters, fireplaces, stoves and automobile tail pipes, fire officials said.

Fire officials urge you to follow these steps if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Leave your home or business
  • Call 911
  • Get any victims to fresh air immediately, including family pets (cats and dogs)
  • Open windows
  • Call your local utility or repairman to find and fix the leak

Fire officials also urge you to follow these carbon monoxide safety tips:

  • Make sure all fuel-burning items – furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters, clothes dryers and space heaters are properly ventilated
  • If you have a working fireplace, keep chimneys clean and clear of debris
  • Never turn on your oven to heat your kitchen or home, or operate gas of charcoal barbeque grills, kerosene or oil burning heaters in an enclosed space
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector. Check and change batteries on a regular basis
  • Recognize signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, the most common symptom of which is headache. Symptoms may also include dizziness, chest pain, nausea and vomiting

Emergency telephone tips:

  • When calling 911, specify the type of emergency (fire, medical, police) and be prepared to answer questions
  • During any emergency, please use the telephone only when absolutely necessary to keep the line free for emergency calls, fire officials said. You may also report emergencies online at www.nyc.gov
  • Do not call 911 for non-emergencies or to report a power outage. Call 311 for assistance with all non-emergencies, such as noise or sanitation complaints


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