MEBANE, N.C., June 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent survey from Kidde, the leading manufacturer of residential fire safety products, and the California Safe Homes Coalition, reveals that California families are under protected from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Of the 1,200 homeowners surveyed, 87 percent had fuel-burning appliances in their homes, a common CO source. However, more than half (59 percent) did not have a CO alarm. In addition, one-third of those without alarms don't believe they need one, even though it is the only safe way to detect the odorless, tasteless and invisible gas.
Carbon monoxide is called the 'silent killer' because many people do not realize they're being poisoned until it's too late. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes CO as the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths, claiming 400 lives and injuring another 20,000 each year. California officials estimate CO poisoning causes 700 avoidable injuries and hospitalizations annually.
"We are in great need of increased education surrounding the dangers of CO poisoning throughout the state of California," explained Kevin Nida, president of the California State Firefighters' Association (CSFA), a supporter of the California Safe Homes Coalition and co-sponsor of State Bill 183. "Many believe that CO is an issue that only impacts cold-weather states; however, we've experienced firsthand the tragedy of CO poisonings here in California."
California's new law aims to protect families, while reducing the number of associated casualties. Following its initial enactment in January 2011, the second phase becomes effective on July 1 when existing homes with a fuel-burning appliance or attached garage are required to install CO alarms. The final phase will require CO alarm installation in existing multi-family dwellings by January 2013.
CO poisoning can occur anywhere, to anyone, at any time. In addition to fuel-burning appliances, common household sources include car exhaust, portable generators and grills. Survey results found that 75 percent of homeowners have an attached garage. However, more than three-quarters (83 percent) of respondents were unaware of the state's CO alarm law.
"We need to significantly increase public awareness in California regarding the new law and make sure that all residents understand the safety need for CO alarms," said Chris Rovenstine, vice-president of sales and marketing for Kidde. "CO poisoning is easily preventable with a working CO alarm, and California's law will help to ensure protection for all families across the state."
Safety experts recommend installing CO alarms on every level of the home and in sleeping areas. CO alarms range in price from less than $20 to more than $40, depending on the features, and are available at home improvement retailers, such as The Home Depot. Homeowners should also have their furnaces and fireplaces inspected annually, and never use grills or un-vented gasoline or kerosene space heaters or generators inside the home.
The survey was deployed in January 2011, and recipients were interviewed online. Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents reported a household annual income greater than $100,000, 68 percent are married or living with a partner, and 62 percent have children ages 17 or under living in the household.
For more information on California's law, CO safety and how to protect your family, visit www.CASafeHomes.org.
Kidde is the leading manufacturer of residential smoke alarms, carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, fire extinguishers, and has been delivering advanced fire safety technology for more than 90 years. Kidde is a business of UTC Fire & Security, a company that 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. (NYSE: UTX), which provides high technology products and services to the building and aerospace industries worldwide. More information can be found at www.utcfireandsecurity.com and www.kidde.com.
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. www.CASafeHomes.org.