Klobuchar’s bipartisan legislation to implement tougher safety standards for carbon monoxide detectors was signed into law earlier this year

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) held a virtual press conference to highlight the importance of preventing carbon monoxide related deaths. Klobuchar led the bipartisan Nicholas and Zachary Burt Memorial Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act, which was signed into law earlier this year. Named after two young brothers from Kimball, Minnesota who tragically passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning, this legislation will help states adopt tougher standards to ensure carbon monoxide detectors are safe and reliable.

Klobuchar was joined by carbon monoxide poisoning awareness advocate and mother to Nicholas and Zachary, Cheryl Burt; Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association President and Brooklyn Park Fire Chief  T. John Cunningham; Duluth Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj; Moorhead Division Fire Chief Chad Stangeland; and Rochester Assistant Fire Chief Holly Mulholland.

“As more Minnesotans turn on their heaters, it’s good to talk about the progress we’ve made and what we can do going forward to help prevent tragedies from carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Klobuchar. “In order to adequately address this danger, we need common sense safeguards in place. That’s why I was glad to see my bipartisan legislation —named in honor of Cheryl’s sons—signed into law earlier this year. The law will help prevent tragic deaths by providing funding to install carbon monoxide detectors… and educate the public on the dangers of carbon monoxide.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 430 people in the U.S. die each year from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and approximately 50,000 people are forced to seek medical attention for accidental CO poisoning. The risk of poisoning associated with running an automobile engine in an attached garage or burning charcoal in the house is especially dangerous.

Currently, the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) has voluntary standards, set by Underwriters Laboratories. The Nicholas and Zachary Burt Memorial Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act authorizes the CPSC to provide resources to states to encourage the use of carbon monoxide detection devices and establish a federal grant program to help states carry out a carbon monoxide poisoning prevention education and awareness program.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following tips for avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector in the house, and check or change its batteries every six months; 
  • Never leave a car running while parked in a garage or any enclosed space; 
  • Never run a car, a generator, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open;
  • Having a qualified technician inspect and service all gas, oil, or coal burning appliances each year; 
  • Call 911 or a health care professional right away if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.