Baltimore has been a leader on carbon monoxide detectors [Letter]

January 05, 2014

Your recent on the need for carbon monoxide detectors addressed an important issue ("A life-saving gift for 2014," Dec. 29).

However, it would have been of even greater value to those who live in Baltimore had it made readers aware of the city's very broad law which I wrote and the City Council passed in 2008.

Every dwelling in the city, whether newly constructed or already existing, as well as hotel, motel, boarding and rooming house, or other part of a building that provides living or sleeping facilities for one or more individuals, must install a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside of each sleeping area if it uses gas or fossil fuel for heating, cooking, hot water or clothes-drying; is attached to a garage; or has a gas- or wood-burning fireplace.

In other words, unless you have an all-electric home with an unattached garage and no fireplace, you have to have a CO detector installed in a central location outside of each sleeping area.

This is a model statute that can be easily adopted with little change, if any, by every jurisdiction in the state.

As we all know, though, passing the statute is not enough. As strong as the city's law is, it will not and does not save lives if we don't make certain that its requirements are met and people do what is required of them. It is most important that folks actually know what the law is and what their obligation is under it. Unfortunately most people likely do not.

This is a major reason why your failure to recognize the city's effort is so disappointing. There was a very real educational opportunity here that was missed. I sincerely hope that your editors will do a more thorough job with their research in the future. Your opinion is valued. Well informed, it will be even more so.

James B. Kraft, Baltimore

The writer represents District 1 on the Baltimore City Council.

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