Pensacola, FL – Santa Rosa County is reminding the building industry that as of July 1, Florida State law requires all new buildings, both commercial and residential, that have fossil fuel burning heaters, appliances, attached garages or fireplaces, to have carbon monoxide detectors.

Santa Rosa County Building Inspections and Emergency Management is also urging local businesses and residents to retrofit current structures with this device, according to a press release.

Unintentional carbon monoxide exposure accounts for about 15,000 emergency department visits and 500 unintentional deaths in the United States each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Carbon monoxide can leak from fuel-burning appliances that have not received proper maintenance and cause serious illness and, in some cases, death. Easy-to-install, combination smoke/carbon monoxide detectors are inexpensive, averaging $20-$70.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. It is extremely dangerous and almost impossible to detect without a properly installed and maintained CO detector. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. Higher exposure can lead to convulsions, unconsciousness and even death. Everyone is at risk; however, children, senior citizens and people with heart or lung problems are at even greater risk for CO poisoning.