Crucial Time in Massachusetts for Carbon Monoxide Safety

It was a bitterly cold January night when firefighters responded to a report of an unconscious 7-year-old girl after the furnace vents in her family’s Plymouth home had been blocked by snow from a recent storm. Nicole Garofalo later died from carbon monoxide poisoning in her own home. Carbon monoxide, often referred to as the “Invisible Killer,” has claimed thousands of lives due to its odorless, colorless, and poisonous qualities. After this particularly terrible event, “Nicole’s Law” was enacted in her honor to require carbon monoxide detectors in homes and businesses in Massachusetts by March of 2006. Eight years later, residents in Massachusetts are reaching a crucial point. According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, carbon monoxide detectors must be replaced every 5-7 years, making alarms installed as a result of the law in dire need of replacement.

According to CBS Boston, “It has been about seven years since the law went into effect, so there could be countless CO detectors that are at the end of their life. The devices are supposed to make a chirping sound to let you know they are no longer working, but there are no guarantees.” In collaboration with fire officials, the local CBS affiliate in Chicago performed an extensive test on several models of carbon monoxide alarms.

One detector was new, while other nine older models were donated from area homes. All Underwriter’s Laboratory certified alarms are required to alert occupants within 15 minutes CO levels reaching a concentration higher than 400 parts per million. Their findings state that, “only three of the alarms, including the new one, met that standard. The next four did not sound until at least 40 minutes later when the CO levels were dangerously high. Three of the alarms never went off at all.”

In a city bursting with students, landlords are especially pressured to keep up with maintenance on their Carbon Monoxide alarms. Per Massachusetts law, landlords are required to “inspect, test, and maintain the CO alarms at least once a year or at the beginning of any rental period (such as lease renewal). Batteries are required to be replaced once a year.” Failure to comply puts everyone at risk for a deadly but ultimately preventable poison.

At the Greater Boston Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP, our dedicated team of Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorneys understand the emotional, physical, and financial burdens faced by victims of personal injuries and their families following Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Our attorneys combine the professional experience of having successfully handled thousands of Personal Injury cases, with the individual attention to respond to the unique nature of your case. We will look into every detail of your case and will explore every option available in order to deliver legal representation of the highest quality.

At the law offices of Altman & Altman, we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – including nights and weekends to answer any questions regarding your case. Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation.

City of Gloucester, MA. “Nicole’s Law.”
Ebben, Paula. CBS Boston. “Will Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Protect You?” March 24, 2014.
Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. “Carbon Monoxide Safety.”
Massachusetts Board of Fire Regulations. “Carbon Monoxide Alarms.”

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