A Norwalk man who lost a family friend from carbon monoxide poisoning was at the capitol today, lobbying for legislation to mandate carbon monoxide alarms in Iowa dwellings.
A bipartisan panel agreed to require residential buildings to install the alarms if they are already required to have smoke detectors.
Dwayne Sand of Norwalk says other states are responding to the death of a 22-year-old woman who was killed by the colorless, odorless gas in Colorado six years ago.
“Legislation has moved forward in Colorado and Nebraska in recognition of Lauren Johnson’s death,” Sand said. “I’m here in her honor to try and save some more lives.”
Sand’s voice cracked as he remembered Lauren Johnson, whose father is from Iowa.
Legislators are also responding to last week’s report of a northwest Iowa family who narrowly escaped death from carbon monoxide poisoning.
“There was a report of a family of eight taken to the hospital,” Sand said. “There was no carbon monoxide detector. If the snow had covered their furnace vent earlier in the evening, they might have died in their sleep.”
Sand says at least 30 states already mandate carbon monoxide alarms.
Under a proposed amendment to the bill, hotels and motels would also be included.
Realtors and apartment owners are monitoring the bill. A representative for the Department of Public Safety expressed concern about enforcing the new law with limited staff at the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
A similar bill is under consideration in the Iowa Senate.