The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 1618, the Zachary and Nicholas Burt Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act, which will create a new grant program to install carbon monoxide alarms in the homes of elderly and low-income individuals, as well as schools and other public facilities. The legislation was introduced by Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) and was sponsored by the Security Industry Association (SIA).

The bill also provides incentives for states to pass laws that require carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced whenever fossil fuels are burned. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 400 deaths and 20,000 emergency room visits caused by carbon monoxide poisoning each year.

“As a mother, I know there is nothing more important than keeping our children and loved ones safe,” said Rep. Kuster. “This legislation will help save lives by combatting deadly yet entirely preventable carbon monoxide poisoning. I’m thrilled to see this commonsense measure pass the House and I urge the Senate to bring it swiftly to a vote and protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

“I am so pleased at the passing of HR 1618, and would like to thank Congresswoman Kuster for all of her hard work on this legislation,” said Paul J. Parisi, New Hampshire State Fire Marshal. “Unfortunately, here in New Hampshire we experience tragic, unintentional carbon monoxide deaths on an annual basis, such as the unfortunate deaths of John and April Courtney of Lyman in the beginning of the year.  By providing grant funding for carbon monoxide alarms and education on the importance of detection equipment, lives will be saved. I hope the Senate will also see the importance of this bill and vote favorably upon it.”   

The Zachary and Nicholas Burt Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act has been endorsed by 15 of the nation’s leading public safety advocacy groups, including the Consumer Federation of America, National Consumers League, Kids in Danger, Public Citizen, and Safe Kids Worldwide. This legislation is named after four-year-old Zachary and 16 month-old Nicholas Burt, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning when the furnace in their family’s home malfunctioned and was releasing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. The house was not equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm.