Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced any time a fossil fuel is burned in a furnace, vehicle, generator, or grill. If CO builds up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces, it can cause sudden illness and even death in people and animals.
In 2011, Local Law 75 required New York City residential buildings to replace carbon monoxide detectors (the law has since been amended to include smoke detectors). As you may already know, the same law requires property owners to provide and install at least one approved and operational detecting device within each dwelling unit. Co-op and condos must post a notice in the common area, informing occupants of the law's requirements.
Back in 2011, when the law went into effect, property owners were required to provide to at least one adult occupant of each unit written information regarding the testing and maintenance of detectors, general information about carbon monoxide poisoning, and what to do if an alarm goes off, according to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development.
Under the law, residents are accountable for testing their detectors at least once a month, replacing batteries twice a year, and generally making sure they work properly.
Co-op and condo boards can stay on top of the situation by sending a reminder to residents of those responsibilities.
Boards can also take this opportunity to supply residents with information about carbon monoxide poisoning. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has information about carbon monoxide in an easy-to-reference question-and-answer format, which co-ops and condos can post in common areas and send to residents via e-mail. It also has an online brochure on how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, a good resource to have on hand.
Remember, when co-op and condo boards are proactive, it not only helps keep residents safer but also creates a sense of community.
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