On March 15, 2005, the Illinois Senate Housing and Community Affairs Committee passed a bill that would require the installation of carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in all residential dwellings. Sponsored by state Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), Senate Bill 2086 was sent to the full Senate for consideration. A companion bill, House Bill 3690, is being sponsored by state Rep. Daniel Burke (D-Chicago).

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 15,000 people go to hospital emergency rooms each year because of suspected CO poisoning. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that approximately 2,000 people die each year from CO poisoning.

According to a statement from Kidde PLC, manufacturer of CO alarms, Chicago Fire Commissioner Cortez Trotter pointed to the success of the city's similar ordinance, passed in 1994 after the tragic death of an entire family. "While the Chicago Fire Department's responses to CO alarms have increased dramatically since the enactment of this law, our incidents of CO-related deaths have drastically decreased," Trotter noted. "Just as smoke detectors save lives, so do CO detectors."

Publication date: 04/04/2005