FAIRMONT – Carbon monoxide detector alarms became a requirment in West Virginia homes with the passage of the 2012 Fire Prevention and Control Act.
The act required CO alarms to be installed in existing one- and two-bedroom homes, and in January of 2013, the act required hardwired CO alarms in all new one- and two-bedroom homes.
“The seven years is from the manufacturing date,” said Sara Tatay, spokesperson for First Alert, which manufactures CO alarms. “So if they were manufactured in 2013 when this legislation happened and they went out and bought these, yeah after seven years they need replacing.”
Going on around seven years since the enactment of this policy, Tatay said these alarms are likely to expire this year, making the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning a bigger threat.
CO is a colorless and odorless gas, which can emanate from a household’s stove or fireplace if the gas is left on for an extended period of time, and spread throughout a home.
“It can get in your house from a couple different things,” Tatay said. “It could be from just leaving on your stove top. It could happen from generators being turned on inside the house, and sometimes people bring their grills into the home.”
The effects of inhalation of this gas can be similar to symptoms of the flu, leaving an individual nauseous and lightheaded, with the potential of passing out, which could even lead to death.
“It is impossible to detect without the carbon monoxide alarm,” Tatay said. “People could potentially die, you could feel really dizzy and feel very nauseous. If you don’t really realize what’s going on, if you let it go on long enough you could pass away.”
According to Tatay, these alarms will beep if the battery is low or if they are expiring altogether, so she urges homeowners to take the safe route and get a new battery or alarm to ensure their safety.
Either way, she said Co alarms are usually available at most home or hardware stores that carry plug-in devices.
“They should be replacing the batteries if they are battery operated alarms,” she said. “Or they can replace the whole alarm if it’s hardwired. There are a lot of options for where to find these alarms.”