Federal Bill Would Ensure Quality Protection for Americans From the 'Silent Killer'

Act Builds on Momentum of States to Pass Laws Requiring CO alarms

Jul 28, 2010, 17:47 ET from Kidde

MEBANE, N.C., July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Approximately every nine minutes, a fire department in the U.S. responds to a residential carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.  Now, the U.S. House of Representatives has taken a major step to expand protection by passing the "Residential Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act."  Kidde, the leading manufacturer of residential CO alarms, fully supports this bill and commends the House of Representatives for its commitment to safety.  Kidde is part of UTC Fire & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

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Introduced by Congressman Jim Matheson (D-UT), HR 1796 would create a mandatory guideline for all CO alarms sold in the U.S., including compliance with the voluntary third-party standard known as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 2034.  Currently, most of the 27 states with residential CO alarm laws mandate that CO alarms meet this standard.  

"I commend Congressman Matheson for his leadership and the co-sponsors of HR 1796 and members of the House of Representatives for taking a stance that will help ensure the quality of these life-saving devices," said John Andres, vice-president of engineering for Kidde Residential & Commercial.  "By making UL 2034 the basis of a federal standard, HR 1796 ensures a baseline performance measure."  

Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America, claiming 400 lives and sending another 20,000 to the emergency room each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is produced by fossil fuel-burning appliances, which under certain circumstances, including malfunction or improper ventilation, can cause CO to build up in a home.  

"Because you can't see, smell or taste carbon monoxide, a family must have confidence that its CO alarm will alert them when danger occurs," said Andres.  "Kidde's CO alarms are rigorously tested to obtain third-party approval and meet UL 2034.  In addition, we test 100 percent of our CO sensors and all of our alarms bear the UL mark."  

The safest known way to detect carbon monoxide is to install a working CO alarm.  Industry reports show that as of 2008, nearly 50% of U.S. homes had a CO alarm.  However, a survey by Kelton Research found that only about half of those homes (27%) have more than one alarm installed.  Fire safety experts such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend placing CO alarms on each floor and near sleeping areas.  The majority of states with CO laws require this placement as well.

HR 1796 would set up a grant program to assist states that pass residential CO alarm requirements in raising awareness of CO risks, and it would provide funds for the installation and acquisition of carbon monoxide alarms.  

Residential CO alarms are available at home improvement retailers, mass merchants and via the Web.  For more information, visit www.knowaboutco.com.  

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 technology in Kidde's residential and commercial smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers and other life safety products. Based in Mebane, NC, Kidde is part of UTC Fire & Security, which provides fire safety and security solutions to more than 1 million customers worldwide. Headquartered in Connecticut, UTC Fire & Security is a business unit of United Technologies Corp., which provides high technology products and services to the building and aerospace industries worldwide. More information can be found at www.utcfireandsecurity.com.