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Bill working its way through congress could help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Carbon monoxide is a silent killer.

"It is an odorless, tasteless, smell, has no smell at all type of gas," said Rockford Fire Department Fire Prevention Coordinator Timothy Morris.

Carbon monoxide can pose an even greater threat this time of year.

"It may be a faulty flame or maybe your furnace hasn't been maintained or cleaned and again, it can make that carbon monoxide more prevalent," said Morris.

A faulty furnace is what killed two brothers in Minnesota in 1996. But a bill called the Nicholas and Zachary Burt Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act is working to prevent any more deaths.

Passed by the house this past September, the bill would give states money for prevention techniques like improving the safety of portable generators.

"If you have something that has an option with an oxygen depletion sensor or something similar that would shut off or warn you, that 'hey, something's not right,' absolutely, that's something we want people to use," said Morris.

The Rockford Fire Department responded to 157 carbon monoxide incidents in 2018 which is why it says improvements in safety is critical.

"Overall, it would be safer. It would make us safer not just here in Rockford, but the surrounding areas those stores serve. Specific to generators or other devices in that nature, obviously as our technology improves so should the safety standards," said Morris.

The state of Illinois requires every home to have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level and within 15 feet away from every bedroom.

If the bill takes any steps forward we could see more regulations in place.

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