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Rye Fire Inspector on Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

RYE, N.Y. -- Two years ago this week a law went into effect regarding the implementation and upkeep of carbon monoxide alarms in homes statewide. This law is known as Amanda's Law and is named after Buffalo teenager Amanda Hansen, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a defective boiler in January of 2009.

The law states that compliant carbon monoxide, or CO, alarms must be properly installed in a central location on every floor of all homes with fuel-burning appliances throughout the state.

According to Rye Fire Inspector Lt. James Dianni, there are insignificant levels of this undetectable gas in the air on a daily basis.

"Carbon monoxide is released into the air as a byproduct of combustion," Dianni said. "Small levels of it will always be present, and you have to be exposed to high levels for a period of time to be harmed."

According to the state's Office of Fire Prevention and Safety Control, carbon monoxide, known as "the silent killer," is the leading cause of accidental poising in the United States, claiming over 400 lives every year. The OFPC also warns that the majority of CO incidents happen during the winter months as the usage of fuel-burning appliances increases.

Dianni said that CO awareness isn't where it should be, but that it has grown a lot in recent years thanks to improvements in technology.

"It’s getting there," Dianni said. "The combination of CO and smoke detectors, that’s the big item now. Instead of having to install six alarms in your house now, you can buy one detector that does both."

CO detectors cost between $20 to $50, and it only costs around $10 extra for the combination smoke and CO alarms.

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