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The Ogden City Council has taken the unprecedented step in Utah of requiring every residence in the city to have a carbon monoxide detector. It is now the law punishable by a fine.
It is an intriguing, potentially life-saving approach to dealing with what has been described as a "silent killer." An incident in Ogden last year helped push Ogden City leaders to adopt the ordinance. Carbon monoxide was blamed for a man's death and the poisoning of three Ogden police officers who became ill while investigating what happened. Across the nation, hundreds die each year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
There'll be those who will vociferously argue such an ordinance is an unnecessary intrusion of government - that the use of CO detectors should be voluntary. But sometimes the force of law is needed to awaken people to the benefits of certain life-protecting devices.
It will be worth watching what happens in Ogden as the new ordinance is implemented - to see how the community responds and what impact it has.
Meantime, Ogden's decision offers a timely reminder for all citizens regardless of where they live to take steps to protect themselves from needless harm. Installing a carbon monoxide detector in one's residence makes sense, whether required by city ordinance or not.