Awareness of Carbon Monoxide Threats Up; Mandatory Alarm Installation Remains Slow at First Anniversary of Law

Survey shows half of California homes without alarms; families have good intentions but admit to procrastinating on safety

Jun 29, 2012, 13:18 ET from Kidde

MEBANE, N.C., June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- While more than half of Californians are aware of a law requiring residential carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, many residents remain unprotected, according to a survey from independent research group, Qualtrics. Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents do not have a CO alarm in their home despite the overwhelming presence of both fuel-burning appliances (84 percent) and attached garages (75 percent) – the state-determined criteria for installation and primary risk factors for accidental CO poisoning.


The results come on the eve of the law's one-year anniversary on July 1. Nearly half of respondents without a CO alarm stated they know they need one, but haven't found the time to install the life-saving device. Another one-third believe that they do not need an alarm even though it is the only safe way to detect CO, an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas. The survey was conducted on behalf of Kidde, the leading manufacturer of residential fire safety products, and the California Safe Homes Coalition. Kidde is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

"We are encouraged that many California residents have heard our message, understand the dangers of CO poisoning and have installed an alarm," explained Kevin Nida, president, California State Firefighters' Association (CSFA), a supporter of the California Safe Homes Coalition and co-sponsor of Senate Bill 183. "However, we urge those who have not yet acted to do so now. Carbon monoxide is perceived as an issue that only impacts cold-weather states, and that's not a safe assumption. We've experienced the tragedy of CO poisonings here in California all too often."

Called the 'silent killer' because many people do not realize they're being poisoned until it's too late, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It claims 400 lives and injures another 20,000 each year nationwide. California officials estimate CO poisoning causes 700 avoidable injuries and hospitalizations annually.

"I miss my sister every day. Unfortunately, no one in my family knew about CO poisoning until it was too late," said West Covina, Calif. resident Ta Juan Campbell. His sister, Tyra Lynn, died of accidental CO poisoning in her Beverly Hills apartment in 2007. Campbell founded the Tyra Lynn Foundation to raise awareness of CO poisoning. "If you've put off installing a CO alarm, don't wait. It could save your family."

California's law aims to protect families, while reducing the number of associated casualties. A final phase requiring CO alarms in existing multi-family residential dwellings goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

"Carbon monoxide alarms are available throughout California," said Chris Rovenstine, vice president, marketing and sales, Kidde. "The alarms are affordable and installation is simple. Some plug into an electrical outlet, while others are powered by a battery and mount on a wall. Combination models offer protection from fire and CO in one unit."

Safety experts recommend installing CO alarms on every level of the home and in sleeping areas.
Homeowners should also have their furnace and fireplaces inspected annually and never use grills or un-vented gasoline or kerosene space heaters or generators inside the home or in a garage.

For more information on California's law, CO safety and how to protect your family, visit  

About Kidde

As the world's largest manufacturer of fire safety products, Kidde's mission is to provide solutions that protect people and property from the effects of fire and its related hazards. For more than 90 years industry leaders, the military, airlines and firefighters have relied on Kidde to deliver superior fire detection and suppression. Consumers will find that same advanced fire safety technology in Kidde's residential and commercial smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers and other life safety products.

Based in Mebane, N.C., Kidde is part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. For more information, visit

About California Safe Homes Coalition

The California Safe Homes Coalition was formed to bring together organizations that support continued education and awareness surrounding the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and the importance of CO alarms. The Coalition is committed to educating families on ways to help keep their family and home safer. Kidde and the CSFA are both supporters.