Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon Monoxide Detectors...What is carbon monoxide (CO)? CO is a highly toxic gas. It is the product of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, gasoline, wood and coal. The major sources of CO in homes and apartments are fossil fuel burning boilers, furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces and parking garages. CO is very dangerous because it is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and non-irritating. CO poisoning can be fatal. The warning signs of CO poisoning are headaches, dizziness, tiredness and nausea. If you feel that you are suffering from the effects of CO poisoning or that your home may have a CO leak immediately open all of the windows and remove yourself from your home and call the Fire Department.

Landlords must provide and install at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm within each dwelling unit. The carbon monoxide alarms must be installed within fifteen feet of the primary entrance to each sleeping room. This applies to all multiple dwellings and one- and two-family homes.

Make sure your have a working carbon monoxide alarm in your rented dwelling!

Protect yourself from Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning in your home

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless odorless gas produced whenever a fuel is burned.  In our homes the typical sources of CO gas are the home’s furnace or hot water boiler, hot water heater, stove/oven, fireplace and sometimes a vehicle left running in an attached garage. 

Carbon Monoxide detectors are required in all homes

CO poisoning caused the death of 16-year-old Amanda Hansen in January of 2009, resulting in the passage of Amanda’s Law in New York State.  Amanda’s Law requires that CO detectors be installed in all homes where there is a CO gas source.  In buildings constructed before January 1, 2008, a CO detector is required in each dwelling unit, on the lowest level containing a sleeping area.  

Make sure that your landlord is in compliance with the law and has provided CO detectors where required. 

If CO detectors are not provided then ask that they be installed immediately.  In the event that the landlord or the landlord’s representative does not comply, call your local building inspector.  In the City of Buffalo this notification is best done through the City’s 311 “Call and Resolution Center” reporting system.  Your complaint will be assigned a tracking number and notification by letter that your complaint has been recorded will be sent to you.  Should there be no response from your landlord or the landlord’s representative call 311 again and pursue action on your complaint. 

Follow this link for more details in what to look for

Communities outside the City of Buffalo, call the Building Inspection Department of that community:

Town of Amherst -
(716) 631-7094
Town of Cheektowaga
(716) 686-3470
Village of Kenmore
(716) 873-5700
Town of Tonawanda -
(716) 877-8801

Building Fire Safety Devices

Smoke Alarms

Smoke Alarms…also often known as smoke detectors, are one of the best early-warning devices of a fire. They are designed to sense low levels of smoke and sound an alarm.

Some smoke alarms are what are known as “single station,” or stand-alone devices. If they go into alarm, only the one detector is activated, alerting people right around it. Others may be connected together, such as in a two-story house, and they will all sound an alarm at the same time. A third setup may be a fire alarm system, such as in a residence hall, where a smoke alarm is connected to the building’s fire alarm system.

No matter what type of setup you may have, no fire detector can do its job if it is disabled. Whatever you do…
• LEAVE the batteries in the detector
• LEAVE the detector uncovered so it can “smell” the smoke
• LEAVE the detector on the wall or ceiling where it can do its job.

A lot of fire fatalities have occurred when the detector has been disabled.

Don’t be one of them!

What to do when the alarm goes off: If the alarm in your building goes off, there is one thing that you should always do-get out! While you may think that it is another false alarm, or you may believe you are in no danger, you can’t tell from your room. You should always evacuate the building when the alarm on your floor sounds if it is safe for you to do so.

When the fire alarm went off on the night of January 19, 2000 at Seton Hall, it had been the 19th alarm within several weeks that had occurred at Borland Hall. A number of the students didn’t leave, thinking it was another false alarm. This time, the fire was real and three freshman were killed.

Common Fire Hazards

  • Smoking
  • Candles
  • Cooking
  • Storm
  • Winter Heating
What is the danger of smoking materials?

Nationwide, smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths. In 1998, these fires killed over 900 people, injured almost 2,500 and caused $411.7 million in direct property damage. More people die from fires started by smoking materials than any other type of fire-22% of all of the fire deaths in 1998.

This is of significant concern to the college student because according to the U.S. Department of Education, 2/3 of the students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities live off-campus in houses and apartments. The very locations where many of these fire deaths occurred.

And the problem is with cigarettes. Cigars and pipes represent only 2% of the fires.

How do these fires occur? Almost ¾ of the fires caused by smoking material are the result of a cigarette being abandoned or carelessly disposed. In other words, someone was not thinking, not paying attention and just not being careful.

What is the material most commonly ignited in these fires? The three leading materials that were ignited in fires started by cigarettes include:

• Mattress 26%
• Upholstered furniture 20%
• Trash 17%

In 1998, over 73% of the people that died in smoking-related fires were killed by fires that started in either a mattress or an upholstered chair

This material was developed by Center for Campus Fire Safety,
a non-profit organization
PO Box 2358
Amherst, MA 01004

Are candles a fire hazard?

IF they are properly used, no they are not a significant fire hazard. However, all too often, they are not used properly, or they are left unattended. This is when the fires occur. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 1998, the latest year for statistics, there were 12,540 home candle fires. This is an important fact since almost 2/3 of the students in the United States live off-campus in homes and apartments, Almost half (44%) of the fires started in the bedrooms. Candle fires cause an average of $144.5 million in damage each year and kill 119 people. Candle fires have been rising dramatically over the past few years, probably because of the increasing demand for candles. Over the past four years, the candle industry has tripled in response to this demand. What are some of the common causes of home candle fires? Half of the fires occurred because of carelessness:

• Over one-third started because the candles were left unattended, abandoned or inadequately controlled.
• Almost 20% of the fires occurred because combustible material was too close to the candle.
• The most common material ignited is mattresses or bedding, followed by cabinetry and then curtains or drapes. What are some safety tips? The NFPA offers the following safety tips:
• Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or when going to sleep.
• Keep candles away from items that can catch fire such as clothing, books, paper, curtains, Christmas trees, flammable decorations or anything else that burns.
• Make sure candles are placed on a stable piece of furniture in sturdy holders that won't tip over. Candles should fit in the holders securely and holders should be made from material that can't burn.
• Use flashlights for temporary lighting in power outages, not candles. Keep plenty of fresh batteries on hand during thunderstorm seasons.
• Make sure the candleholder is big enough to collect dripping wax.
• Don't allow children or teens to have candles in their bedrooms.
• Don't place lit candles in windows, where blinds or curtains can close over them.
• Do not use candles in places where they could be knocked over by children or pets.
• Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.
• When purchasing or using candles, consider what would happen if the candle burned low. Could it burn the candleholder or decorative material nearby?
• Avoid candles with combustible items embedded in them.
• Extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get within two inches of the holder or decorative material. Votive and container candles should be extinguished before the last ½ inch of wax starts to melt.

This material was developed by Center for Campus Fire Safety,
a non-profit organization
PO Box 2358
Amherst, MA 01004

Some things to remember while cooking in your place:

• Test the stove to make sure all burners and the oven work.
• Check to make sure the kitchen ventilation fan is working.
• Locate a fire extinguisher and read the directions before you need to use it!
• Remember never use water on a grease fire; smother flames with a lid or cookie sheet and turn off the burner.

This material was developed by Center for Campus Fire Safety,
a non-profit organization
PO Box 2358
Amherst, MA 01004

The U.S. Fire Safety Administration has important information regarding winter storm safety.

Amomng the safety items covered are chemical, electrical, gas, generator, and heating. You can use this link to visit the website.
The U.S. Fire Safety Administration has important information regarding winter fire safety.

For winter fire safety information regarding kerosine heaters, wood stoves & fireplaces, and furnace heating. Use this link to view the 2-page informational pdf.