In 2011, any new home needed carbon monoxide, or CO, alarms installed. On January 1, add existing apartments, hotels, and single-family homes to the list.
Spokane Valley Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford suggested installing a CO alarm sooner than that. He said in the winter months some people use the wrong heating devices.
"We've seen that where people have put in barbeques inside their homes and tried to heat their homes with a barbeque either by charcoal briquettes or propane," Clifford said. "That's going to put out carbon monoxide in the home, and that's going to kill people also."
Clifford wanted to remind people CO is a colorless, odorless gas. You can't see it, taste it, or smell it.
On Tuesday three people were sent to the hospital from Mead after apparent CO poisoning. A technician passed out while working on a water heater, and the homeowners started feeling sick. The amount of gas in the home was six times the amount it would take to set off an alarm.
"Having a CO alarm in your home is going to mean early detection in case there is a problem like that, and it's going to save lives," Clifford added.
Owner-occupied single-family homes, legally occupied before July 26, 2009 are not required to have CO alarms until they are sold.
Alarms must be located outside of each separate sleeping area, in the immediate vicinity of the bedroom and on each level of the residence.