For Immediate Release - November 06, 2013

State, Local Fire Officials, Legislators Remind MA Residents on the Importance of Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Fire Officials Laud Legislators for Leadership

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, Plymouth Fire Chief Edward Bradley and Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts (FCAM) President Chief George Rogers joined state Senate President Therese Murray and state Representative Vinny deMacedo for their annual carbon monoxide alarm event in Plymouth today. The legislators gave out CO alarms donated by Kidde during the event at the Plymouth Senior Center.

Legislators Lauded for Leadership on Safety from Carbon Monoxide

The legislators responded to a horrific death in their district by passing Nicole’s Law in 2005 requiring CO alarms in most every Massachusetts home. Fire officials honored the legislators for their key leadership and for their continuing efforts to focus attention on this important safety issue.

State Fire Marshal Coan said, “I want to thank you both for your continued support and for continuing to be champions of carbon monoxide safety. You could have passed the legislation and moved on, yet you stand shoulder to shoulder with public safety officials each year helping us to educate the public on how critical these alarms are to keeping our families safe from an invisible, odorless killer.”

Plymouth Family Saved by CO Alarm during Blizzard

Chief Bradley said, “During last February’s blizzard the Plymouth Fire Department responded to as many CO calls as we did in all of 2012.” According to the Mass. Fire Incident Reporting System, fire department responses for carbon monoxide calls have risen 57% from 2006-2012. People responded to the law by installing CO alarms.

The Ciampi family of Plymouth survived CO poisoning in their home from a generator during last February’s blizzard because of their working CO alarm. Three generations of the Ciampi family were huddled together without power during that February storm – Mr. and Mrs. Ciampi, their daughter, and her one-month old baby. Deadly CO entered the home from a generator placed too close to a slider that would not shut completely due to an ice dam. Fortunately, their CO alarm sounded alerting them to danger. While some family members did have elevated levels of CO in their blood, everyone was fine due to the early warning.

Beat the Beep: Replace Aging CO Alarms

Chief Rogers said, “Carbon monoxide alarms do not last forever. The alarms first installed after the law passed, must now be replaced as they are 5-7 years old. As just as we changed our clocks and the batteries in our smoke and carbon monoxide alarms last weekend, it’s important to see if our detectors themselves need to be replaced”

Coan said, “Statewide, we are launching a ‘Beat the Beep’ educational campaign, to remind people to replace aging CO alarms.” One of the signs that CO alarms have reached the end of their lives is that they will continue to give the low battery beep signal even when new batteries are installed. For more information about the Beat the Beep campaign, go to: www.mass.gov/dfs.

Keep Warm, Keep Safe: Winter Heating Safety Tips

Fire officials also provided some tips for preparing for the winter heating season as part of the Keep Warm Keep Safe campaign:

  1. Test smoke and CO alarms monthly and if they use batteries, replace them when we change our clocks.
  2. Have a professional tune-up the furnace;
  3. Have a professional clean and inspect the chimney for cracked mortar:
  4. Buy a metal ashcan with a lid and store ashes safely away from the house, garage or deck.
  5. Space heaters need space, so keep them three feet away from anything that can burn.
  6. Turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  7. Never use your oven for heat; it will pour carbon monoxide into the home.