Scott Introduces bipartisan CO ALERTS Act to Safeguard American Families from Carbon Monoxide

WASHINGTON—Today, Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the Carbon Monoxide Alarms Leading Every Resident to Safety Act (CO ALERTS Act), a bipartisan bill, to ensure that the highly vulnerable 1.3 million Americans in public and rural housing are protected from this silent killer. Secretary Carson has made this a priority issue and supports legislative efforts to install carbon monoxide alarms in public housing.

This bill will aim to curb the over 50,000 people visiting the emergency room every year due to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. At the most risk are children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. 

“My first priority when I heard about the unfortunate incidents in Columbia, South Carolina was to make sure that every family was properly taken care of and resettled—all while conferring with my colleagues and the administration on the best path forward. Our final product is a meticulous, bipartisan bill that has wide support and a path forward onto the floor. This bill will save lives—period,” said Senator Scott.

“No family should have to fear an invisible, silent killer when they’re supposed to be safe at home. All Americans deserve protection from carbon monoxide, no matter where they live, how much money they make, or whether they live in public or rural housing,” said Senator Menendez. “Our CO ALERTS Act provides a targeted, sensible path forward to reduce entirely preventable carbon monoxide deaths. I’m glad to have worked across the aisle with Senator Scott on this lifesaving legislation and look forward to the day the CO Alerts Act is passed into law.”

“I want to commend Senator Scott for wanting to improve the safety of housing throughout the country by introducing the CO ALERTS Act,” said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. “Mitigating the risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning by installing CO alarms is a simple and easy way to stop preventable deaths. Simply put, carbon monoxide alarms will save lives.”

While currently, carbon monoxide alarms are not required in Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing, HUD has taken actionable steps. Recently, HUD issued a notice to urge the installation CO alarms as well as announcing that the agency would provide $5 million in grants to install CO alarms in their housing.

The CO ALERTS Act makes sure families living in federally-assisted housing are safe from carbon monoxide poisoning by requiring:

  • Carbon monoxide alarms in units that have potential carbon monoxide sources like gas-fired appliances, fireplaces, forced air furnaces, and attached garages;
  • Carbon monoxide alarms in rural housing, managed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • HUD provide guidance to public housing agencies on how to educate tenants on health hazards in the home, including carbon monoxide poisoning and lead poisoning; and
  • HUD, in consultation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, conduct a public study on requiring carbon monoxide alarms in housing not covered by the IFC.

Click HERE to read full text of the CO ALERTS Act.