Category Archives: Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

Florida Laws on Carbon Monoxide Safety and Alarms

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According to Florida Statute 553.885, every separate building or addition to an existing building, which has:

  • a fossil-fuel-burning heater or appliance,
  • a fireplace,
  • an attached garage, or
  • other feature, fixture, or element

that emits carbon monoxide as a byproduct of combustion shall have an approved operational carbon monoxide alarm installed within 10 feet of each room used for sleeping purposes in the new building or addition. This statute also includes special rules for hospitals and similar buildings such as, an inpatient hospice facility or a nursing home facility licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration.
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In order to satisfy the requirements of this Florida statute, a hard-wired or battery-powered carbon monoxide alarm or combined carbon monoxide and smoke alarm, must be installed. A carbon monoxide alarm is defined as, “a device that is meant for the purpose of detecting carbon monoxide, that produces a distinct audible alarm, and that meets the requirements of and is approved by the Florida Building Commission.” Fossil fuel is defined as, “coal, kerosene, oil, fuel gases, or other petroleum or hydrocarbon product that emits carbon monoxide as a by-product of combustion.”
Florida Statute 509.211 covers the safety regulations regarding carbon monoxide.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, carbon monoxide is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. Product and equipment powered by internal combustion engines such as:

  • portable generators,
  • cars,
  • lawn mowers, and
  • power washers

also produce carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is not something to be taken lightly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that every year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition, more than 20,000 people visit the emergency room, and over 4,000 people are eventually hospitalized because of carbon monoxide poisoning.
People most at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning are:

  • people who are 65 and older (fatality is the highest among this group of Americans),
  • unborn babies,
  • infants,
  • people with chronic heart disease,
  • people with anemia, and
  • people with respiratory problems

Symptoms of Low to Moderate Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

  • headache
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • dizziness

Symptoms of High Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

  • mental confusion
  • vomiting
  • loss of muscular coordination
  • loss of consciousness
  • ultimately death

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and/or suspect that you or a loved one has carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 immediately!

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