Carbon-monoxideCarbon monoxide alarms would be mandated in some Iowa dwellings under legislation that cleared a legislative panel this week.

A Norwalk man who lost a family friend from carbon monoxide poisoning was at the capitol to lobby lawmakers on the issue. Dwayne Sand 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. I’m here in her honor to try and save some more lives,” Sand said.

Legislators are also responding to last week’s report of a family in Newell, in northwest Iowa, that narrowly escaped a tragedy due to snow covering a furnace vent. “There was a report of a family of eight taken to the hospital from carbon monoxide poisoning. There was no carbon monoxide detector and had the snow covered their furnace vent a little earlier in the evening they might have all died in their sleep,” Sand said.

Under the bill, any home or apartment building where smoke detectors are required would need to have carbon monoxide alarms installed as well. 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.

Reporting by Joyce Russell, Iowa Public Radio