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Just what is Amanda's Law?

According to the Courtland County Area Agency on Aging's most recent newsletter, Amanda's Law is a law named for Amanda Hansen, a 16-year-old from western New York State who died of carbon monoxide poisoning at a sleepover in a friend's house. The home's boiler malfunctioned, producing poisonous, odorless, colorless carbon monoxide gas, which reached the sleepover area.

Carbon monoxide is produced when combustible fuel (oil, natural gas, propane, wood, coal, charcoal, kerosene) does not burn completely. It can be produced inside the home by many non-electric sources such as stoves, furnaces, wood stoves, grills and dryers. There is also a danger from sources in an attached garage, such as running lawn mowers, snow blowers and generators or warming up a car.

In order to prevent further tragic deaths from this silent killer, Amanda's Law went into effect in New York State Feb. 22. The law applies to all residences, both new and existing.

Homes constructed on or after January 1, 2008, must have a carbon monoxide detector on each level of the home having a sleeping area, and on each level of the home where a carbon monoxide source is located.

Homes constructed prior to Jan. 1, 2008, retroactive - no exceptions - must have a carbon monoxide detector on the lowest level of the home having a sleeping area.

Carbon monoxide detectors are widely available in home improvement stores, hardware stores and in the hardware section of large department stores. They are small and easy to install (they plug into existing outlets).

The purpose of Amanda's Law is to save lives. If you are a home owner, install carbon monoxide detector(s) as soon as possible, if you have not already done so. If you are a renter, contact your landlord or building manager about the requirements for your living space.

The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh or call them at 565-4620. Information is also periodically provided by the Behavioral Health Services North Caregiver Resource Center. They may be reached at 565-4543 or 565-4625.

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