Oregon Families Urged to Add Safety to Spring Home Improvement Plans

Carbon monoxide remains year-round danger; many homes required to install CO alarms beginning April 1

Mar 30, 2011, 15:23 ET from Kidde

MEBANE, N.C., March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- While brighter, warmer days are on the horizon, the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning still looms in Oregon homes. Even after gas furnaces and fireplaces are retired for the summer months, other natural gas-powered appliances such as water heaters, clothes dryers, stoves and ovens continue to serve as a source of carbon monoxide. Kidde, the leading manufacturer of fire safety products, urges all Oregon homeowners to take action as part of their spring home improvement projects and install CO alarms in your home. Kidde is part of UTC Fire & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE: UTX).

The Lofgren and Zander Memorial Act goes into effect April 1 for Oregon families, requiring all one- or two-family dwellings, multifamily dwellings, or manufactured dwellings containing a CO source to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed upon sale or transfer. Rental properties and newly built homes with a CO source must also comply. The law is named in honor of Kara Zander of Beaverton, who died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning along with her boyfriend in 2002, as well as relatives of an Oregon family who were overcome by carbon monoxide in an Aspen, Colorado vacation home.

Odorless, colorless, and tasteless, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. The only safe way to detect this deadly gas is with a working CO alarm.

Sandy Giffin, director of the Oregon Poison Center, applauds the act, but is concerned for her fellow Oregon residents who live in existing homes - most of which aren't covered under this new law.  

"The deaths of Kara, her boyfriend, and the Lofgren family show how serious carbon monoxide poisoning is," said Giffin.  "With so many potential sources of CO in a home - from gas clothes dryers to portable generators, a working CO alarm is a valuable tool for early detection of a significant danger. I urge everyone to ensure they have a carbon monoxide alarm in their home.  This small investment can save lives."

Nationally, CO poisoning kills 400 people and injures another 20,000 per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even though most poisonings occur during the winter months because of an increased use of fuel-burning appliances, CO poisoning can occur anywhere, to anyone, anytime of the year. Car exhaust and grills, for example, could create potential risks.

"Over the last eight years we have heard from several people how having a CO alarm in their home prevented their death," said Kara's mother, Cecilia Zander.  "It is incredibly special when someone shares this news with us.  We urge all our neighbors in Oregon to add this simple but vital alarm to their homes."

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 over $40, depending on the features, and are available at home improvement retailers and other stores. Kidde's Intelligent alarm offers smoke and CO protection in one unit, while reducing the chance of common nuisance alarms, such as those caused during cooking.  All Kidde CO alarms last 40% longer than other available brands.

Homeowners should also remember to have their furnaces and fireplaces inspected annually and not use un-vented gasoline or kerosene space heaters or generators inside the home.

For more information on Oregon's law, CO safety, and how to protect your family, visit www.COalarmlaw.com  

About Kidde

Kidde Residential & Commercial 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 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.