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Nicole's Law
Nicole’s Law


  • In 2005, Massachusetts passed "Nicole's Law" which requires that carbon monoxide detectors be installed in all residences that have any source of carbon monoxide such as fossil-fuel burning equipment (like natural gas, propane, oil, wood, coal and gasoline) or an enclosed or attached garage. "Nicole's Law" was named after 7-year old Nicole Garofalo, who died in 2005 from carbon monoxide poisoning when the furnace vents in her Plymouth home became blocked by snow and her house filled with deadly amounts of the gas.
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that results from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels like petroleum gas, oil, wood, coal or other fuels. Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headache, nausea, dizziness, and lethargy, which are often mistaken for flu symptoms. Elderly residents over the age of 65 have the highest carbon monoxide poisoning death rate, and are at higher rixk for undetected exposure.
  • Since the enactment of Nicole’s Law in March 2006, between 2005-2006 there was a 93% increase of CO related calls to fire departments.

Main Components of the law:

  • The law requires carbon monoxide alarms be installed on every level of the home, including habitable portions of basements and attics, in most residences.
  • On levels with sleeping areas, carbon monoxide alarms should be installed within 10-feet of bedroom doors.
  • Levels of the home that do not have habitable living spaces are not required to have CO alarms.
  • Nicole’s Law also requires landlords to install and maintain CO alarms in every dwelling unit that has a source of carbon monoxide.
  • Large apartment buildings, where there is no source inside the individual apartments, may use an alternative method to detect CO near the furnace or boiler rooms.
  • When purchasing a CO alarm, be sure to look for the approval label of an independent testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) or International Approval Service/Canadian Standards Association (IAS/CSA). Most CO alarms that are sold in Massachusetts meet these standards, but it is a good idea to check before purchasing your CO alarm.
The CO alarms may be:

  • Battery operated with battery monitoring or;
  • Plug-ins with battery back-up; or
  • Low voltage system; or
  • Wireless; or
  • Qualified combination (smoke/carbon monoxide alarm)

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