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Carbon Monoxide Alarms

As of July 1, 2011, the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act (Senate Bill – SB 183) requires all single-family homes with an attached garage or a fossil fuel source to install carbon monoxide alarms within the home.


The Arcata Fire District has created these frequently asked questions (FAQ) on carbon monoxide devices to provide the residents of the Fire District with information on this important matter.

Rear end of a car with exhaust.

1.  What is Senate Bill No. 183 (SB-183)?

SB-183 is also known as the “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act.”  This senate bill requires that a carbon monoxide (CO) device be installed in all dwelling units intended for human occupancy. 

2.  What is Carbon Monoxide? 

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced from heaters, fireplaces, furnaces, and many types of appliances and cooking devices. It can also be produced by vehicles that are idling.

3.  Where should CO devices be installed in homes? 

They should be installed outside each sleeping area of the home including the basement. The manufacturer’s installation instructions should also be followed.

4.   Are CO devices required to be installed in each room? 

No. They are required by SB-183 to be installed outside of each sleeping area. For maximum protection against CO gas, it is recommended that a CO device be installed in each sleeping room.

5.   At what height/location should a CO device be mounted?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 720), the location for effective performance is not generally dependent on mounting height. The density of carbon monoxide is similar to that of air at room temperature, and carbon monoxide generally mixes readily with air. The manufacturer’s installation instructions should also be followed.

6.   Can I replace my smoke detector with a CO device? 

No. By law, both smoke alarms/detectors and carbon monoxide devices are required to be installed in all dwellings. However, a combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm/detector will satisfy both requirements.

7.   How many types of CO devices are available? 

There are three types:

A)  Carbon Monoxide alarms (CSFM category # 5276)

B)  Carbon Monoxide detectors (CSFM category # 5278)

C)  Combination smoke/Carbon Monoxide alarm (CSFM category # 7256 or 7257).

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