LOK’s commitment to Carbon Monoxide Awareness

What’s going on behind the scenes that every Indiana tax payer needs to know?

Why does the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation include Carbon Monoxide (CO) education in its mission?

Lindsey O’Brien Kesling (LOK) died from accidental CO poisoning at just 22 years of age in November 2010. “Losing a child for any reason breaks a parent’s heart, but losing them to something that could have been prevented makes the loss so much heavier to bear,” says Lindsey’s mother and LOK Wishing Tree Cofounder, Dot Kesling, who along with the support of family and friends, transformed her grief into working on behalf of the foundation to help others prevent CO from claiming their loved ones.

Where does Indiana stand with Carbon Monoxide protection?

Indiana is one of just a few states that currently does not require CO protection for any buildings, residential or commercial, new or old, as of today’s date (8/31/17).

Why the focus on Indiana?

Indiana is Lindsey’s home state. She was born and raised in LaPorte and attended Indiana University in Bloomington before moving to Arizona, one of the only other states that also had no CO protection at the time of her death in 2010 and still does not at the time of this writing (8/31/17.)

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Contact Local Decision Makers

Let them know you think every citizen deserves protection from CO, the Silent Killer. Tell them CO alarms should be required in all buildings where people live, work and visit.

Be A Voice

What is LOK’s recommendation that will protect its citizens?

Ideally every state, including Indiana, needs blanket protection; therefore, LOK approached Senators and House Representives over the course of 5 years, beginning in 2011, to author bills and carry our requests downstate to Indianapolis. Our CO Bill ended up dead in the water each time. Special interests groups with big influence got in the way.

Since the state turned its back on this life saving issue, LOK shifted to a ‘grass roots strategy’, appealing to individual cities and counties, asking them to adopt their own CO Ordinances.

LaPorte was the first Indiana city to do so. They made the bold decision to pioneer this cause and blaze the trail for other municipalities to follow.

Despite LaPorte passing its ordinance, it took an additional 8 months for the ordinance to pass down state. (Most Indiana taxpayers don't know that Indiana requires an ordinance passed at a local level to be reviewed by the Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commissioners in Indianapolis for final approval.) LOK had to appeal 3 times in this 8 month period. The extended time it took was due to the special interest groups push back, specifically the IBA (Indiana Builder Association). This time frame is unreasonable.

Additional cities/counties that passing local ordinances will add further credence to the loudly absent and much needed call for CO protection at a state level. As of July 2017 Chesterton has passed their own local ordinance. We are hoping Michigan City and South Bend will follow soon, then the process begins all over again down state...

What's taking so long at the state level?
  • IBA won’t allow a CO Bill to pass.
  • The state is working from a very archaic building code (2003), ludicrous and frankly, unsafe.
  • Indiana has had 3 opportunities to update their building code since 2009 and have NOT.
  • The real irony is that the Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commissioners are concerned that too many ordinances will come through with different language -- and they want one standard template.  If the state adopted CO Bill protection, it would provide ONE language for all!
  • The Commissioners have formed a special group to amend and update their building code (a very laborious process that will most lately be completed in 2019. Meanwhile cities that desire to protect their citizens from CO poisoning should be allowed to do so until they establish ONE language in their building code to protect everyone in Indiana from CO.
  • The IBA and other groups are against any CO language in the building code! So while they're saying "yes, we need this protection", it is lip service and will easily be overlooked, as it has in the past, unless we keep pushing the awareness and need for detection and protection.

You can see and smell smoke and fire and we all need protection from fires. You cannot see or smell CO gas; therefore the installation of CO alarms is the only form of detection which is protection.

What we are asking is Right, Reasonable and Life Saving!

Bottom line: The IBA and other groups say there is too much of an economic Impact to install alarms. The ONLY impact is the cost required to install. Average price is $30 and we all know that when a builder builds, the costs are passed on to the buyer! Now, combination smoke/CO alarms can be hardwired at a very reasonable cost.

The money that needs to be addressed and most often goes under the radar is the Societal Impact of the 20,000+ individuals that go to the Emergency Room each year with the effects of long term exposure to CO poison. This is the MILLION dollar number that afflicts the average person, escalated insurance costs, emergency room fees, ambulance, leave of work, and disability -- often for the rest of their lives. ALL of which could be prevented!

500 deaths that occur each year due to accidental poisoning are preventable. Detection is the only prevention. CO Alarms are the ONLY detection!

Common sense! And the state of Indiana is short on it and they must stop passing on the burden to the average homeowner, those that know the least about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning!