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New law could combat carbon monoxide poisoning

MISHAWAKA, Ind. - 

St. Joseph County is making strides to stop the silent killer. The county council will vote next month on an ordinance that could require carbon monoxide detectors in rental properties throughout South Bend and Mishawaka.

The ordinance has been in the works since 2015 according to Clay Fire Territory Fire Marshal Dave Cherrone. It would include apartments, hotels, nursing homes and more.

Cherrone says the goal is for the law to start with the beginning of 2018. If it does take effect, all rental properties would be required to install at least one carbon monoxide detector if the property has a fireplace, wood burning stove, attached garage or fossil-fuel burning appliance.

James Olesen, service manager with Home Comfort Experts says those fossil-fuel burning appliances are generally a furnace, dryer, water heater and stove.

Carbon monoxide kills hundreds of people every year. And when it comes to detectors, people have options.

Olesen says there’s a difference between a carbon monoxide monitor and a carbon monoxide detector.

A detector that can be bought at the store and plugs into the wall will alarm you of high levels of carbon monoxide over a long period of time, usually an hour.

“So let’s say your furnace comes on and it’s producing carbon monoxide. It only runs a 15 minute cycle and shuts off,” said Olesen. “You were introduced to pretty decent levels of carbon monoxide.”

A monitor will detect low levels of carbon monoxide and alert you immediately. This will better gauge how much carbon monoxide is in the home at any time.

“Something is better than nothing,” said Olesen. “Buy what you can afford.”

The full county council will consider the new ordinance on November 14.

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