The Chicago Story
The Chicago Story, actually started in 1988, in Bethesda, Maryland, when the CPSC decided to make Carbon Monoxide, [and Combustible Gases], “Priority Projects” for 1992-93. [It is the CPSC Policy to Select “Priority Projects” 4 or 5 Years in Advance.]
The First “Official Announcement” of this decision was made in 1990. That is when I was contacted again by Don Switzer, who had been selected as the C O Project Director, and Don, Mark Goldstein, President of the Quantum Group and yours truly, started laying the “Groundwork” for the “Official” C O Project “Kick-Off” in 1992.
Our CPSC C O Project “Team” pushed the formation of a UL CO Committee to start working on a “C O Standard” for Detectors. At the same time we started working with the Canadian Gas Association, to also form a C O Technical Committee to develop a Compatible Canadian C O Standard Requirement.
Therefore, with these efforts underway,.... THE STAGE HAD BEEN SET! ! !
In November, 1991, ..... FATE ..... STEPPED IN.
On Thursday, November, 07,1991, in Roseville, Minnesota, a Family of Ten, [ 10 ], the entire Family of Doctor Thomas & Ginny Lange were overcome by Carbon Monoxide, and RUSHED to the Hospital in nearby St. Paul, MN, where, ... Fortunately, ALL were Saved. [ This incident was later “Featured” on a Rescue 911, TV Program on Tuesday, December 15, 1992].
The VERY NEXT DAY, Friday, November 08, 1991, another Family of Ten, [ 10 ], were FAR LESS Fortunate. The ENTIRE Jesus Orejel Family, were found DEAD in their Brick Home in Chicago.
These TWO, ... “Back to Back”, ... Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Cases, ... were all that the “ASPIRING”, “POLITICALLY MINDED”, Chicago Alderman needed, ... He SEIZED the Opportunity to Capture a HUGE amount of PRINT & TV Coverage by “Demanding” Daily, [not the Mayor],... Daily, ... Day after Day, .... that Chicago ..... MUST, MUST, MUST ..... Pass a Mandatory CO Detector Ordinance ! ! !
Naturally, the CO Detector Manufacturers, Dealers, & Distributors; as well as the Major Retailers ..... ALL thought that he was a “Gift from Heaven”, ..... and “Backed” his “Play” to the MAX.
I was Contacted by Bob Rivkin, Chicago City Attorney, asking for my Opinion, and Input on the Proposed CO Ordinance. I must say that I was NOT at all surprised to Learn that my “Warnings” , ... [ that NEITHER the CO Standard, or the Sensor Technologies, being used in that “Generation” of CO Detectors would Prove to be an Acceptable Solution, due to the resulting, Excessive, “False / Nuisance” Alarms], ..... were Totally Ignored.
The Chicago C O Ordinance WAS PASSED, and became Effective, Oct 01, 1994.
Between Oct. 01, 1994, and March 01, 1995, ..... the CHICAGO, [ NOT, CHICAGO “AREA” ], ..... Fire Department, ... actually “RESPONDED” to ... 17,182 ... Residential C O Detector Activations.
During a “Temperature Inversion”, on Dec. 21 & 22, 1994, ... the CHICAGO Fire Dept. ACTUALLY RESPONDED TO ..... 3,465 ..... C O Detector Activations, [within 48 hours], ..... before saying, ..... Enough, ..... is Enough, ..... and started asking People “IF THEY FEEL SICK ENOUGH TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL, ..... IF NOT, ... they were told to ..... “CALL the GAS COMPANY” ! ! ! [ These figures are from a Speech given by: Chief John Eversole, Chief of Hazmat, City of Chicago, at the “Firehouse Conference in Baltimore, MD, in 1995].
The WORST part of this “STORY”, ..... is that 90% of the C O Detectors / Alarms that are “Hanging on the Walls” of the Homes in NORTH AMERICA ... TODAY, ...... STILL Contain these SAME, ... INFERIOR “TYPES” of SENSORS ! ! ! [ Virtually NONE of these SENSORS are MONITORED].
Let us HOPE that other “GOOD INTENTIONED PEOPLE,... DO NOT MAKE THIS SAME MISTAKE, .... ON AN EVEN LARGER SCALE” ! ! !
I would like to Point Out that “MOST” of the Claims being made by C O Alarm Manufacturers that they have Vastly IMPROVED their Products, which has Greatly Reduced the Number of False / Nuisance Alarms, ..... is a Big Bunch of BS.
The reason that the Number of C O Alarm Responses made by Fire Departments and Utility Companies has DECREASED, ..... is Because, as the GRI Report reveals, ..... that 75.4% of the people answering their Survey said that when their C O Alarm Activates, ..... they call NO ONE ! ! !
They have “Heard” about ALL of the “Defective” C O Alarms, and “JUST ASSUME” that it is a “FALSE ALARM”. ........ A SERIOUS PROBLEM ........... BECAUSE when you IGNORE the Warning of an Alarm, ..... IT CAN KILL YOU .....