To: All Heads of Fire Departments
From: Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date: March 28, 2006
Re: Lack of Carbon Monoxide Alarm Units for c. 148, § 26F½ Installation Requirement

As a result of several reports from some areas of the state, indicating that there is currently a lack of available carbon monoxide alarms available at retail outlets, I have spoken with the representatives of the two largest manufacturers of carbon monoxide alarms, Kidde and BRK/First Alert. BRK/First Alert has product for sale, mostly at electrical supply stores. Kidde has informed me they are shipping truckloads of alarms to the state to meet the increased demand at retail outlets. They are hopeful that this product will be available prior to March 31.

I have spoken with Chief Edwards, President of the Fire Chiefs' Association of Massachusetts, and we advise you as follows:

If homeowners are unable to comply due to a lack of product, tell them that product will be available shortly. I would defer enforcement if you reasonably believe the homeowner has used good faith, but could not comply at this time. In situations where there is a scheduled sale or transfer of a residential property, that would otherwise be affected by the lack of compliant carbon monoxide alarms, I suggest using an affidavit, executed by the buyer and seller, which indicates that they intend to comply with the carbon monoxide alarm law as soon as possible. Mark the carbon monoxide inspection certificate as "deferred - see Affidavit." I have enclosed a sample certificate and affidavit for your convenience.

As always, the thrust of our efforts should be to educate and protect the public from the dangers of carbon monoxide to the best of our ability. Thank you for your continuing support and assistance in this very important initiative.