Assemblymember Wallace Announces Legislation to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

After incident at Holiday Twin Rinks that resulted in over 100 hospitalizations, Assembly-member Wallace introduces bills to enact regulations on indoor ice rinks, create sales tax exemption on CO alarms

Assemblymember Monica Wallace (D-Lancaster) is championing several bills to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in residential and public spaces following an incident at a Cheektowaga ice rink that caused hundreds to experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. One bill (A8886) would enact regulations to prevent carbon monoxide exposure in indoor ice rinks, including by requiring rink operators to maintain indoor air quality monitoring devices, to record air quality results, and to have facilities inspected by a public health official. The legislation also provides for actions that rink operators must take if unsafe levels of carbon monoxide or nitrogen dioxide are detected, ranging from improving ventilation at lower levels to evacuating the facility at higher levels.

“Every year, dozens of people become sick from toxic fumes in indoor ice rinks.  It’s so common that the US Ice Rink Association recommends that certain steps be taken routinely to ensure safe air quality at indoor ice rinks.  Six other states have already adopted those guidelines. As we learned from the incident at Holiday Twin Rinks this past December where over 100 people went to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning, it’s time for New York to join them,” said Assemblymember Wallace. “From the kids who skate at these rinks to the parents and grandparents who come watch them, New York must make sure we are doing everything we can to protect folks from this preventable danger.”


If passed, New York State would join Minnesota, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Wisconsin in enacting guidelines and regulations to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in ice rinks.

"The proposed legislation would ensure more of the ice rink operators in our region consistently maintain safe CO levels in their facilities,” said Supervisor Nowak. “The legislation's language on ice resurfacing equipment shows recognition that equipment is a significant contributor to CO levels. Inspections of ice rinks to verify safe CO levels and replacement of aging equipment in order to limit emissions inside ice rinks are common-sense measures that would reduce the chances of an incident like the one in December 2023 from happening again."

“New York has the unfortunate distinction of having led the nation in at home fire deaths last year, according to the US Fire Administration. Governor Hochul has taken tremendous steps in her executive budget to form fatal fire response groups to investigate and educate after each fatal home fire,” said FASNY President Edward Tase, Jr. “Prevention is just as important as response, and we applaud Assemblymember Wallace for advocating for the removal of sales tax on home life safety products as a preventative measure. FASNY officials recommend having multiple smoke detectors in your home – one on each level and one in or just outside of each sleeping space.”

“Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, and our department applauds all efforts to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, especially in public spaces,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “Carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable, and recent events are an essential reminder to know the signs of CO poisoning and act immediately to get poisoned people to fresh air and medical attention. We also hope that people remember ways that they can guard against this threat in their homes: by installing carbon monoxide detectors, and giving gas, oil or coal burning appliances, heating systems and chimneys regular maintenance.”

In addition to the ice rink bill, Assemblymember Wallace is also pushing legislation (A5951) to create a sales tax exemption during the month of October on the purchase of residential fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. These essential devices prevent deaths from home fires and carbon monoxide poisonings. The presence of a working smoke alarm reduces one’s risk of dying in a house fire by 55 percent, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Likewise, at least half of all carbon monoxide poisonings could have been prevented with a working CO detector.

“Every home should have a working fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector.  These devices are as essential as other goods currently exempt from sales tax,” said Assemblymember Wallace. “By waiving sales tax during the month of October, New York is raising awareness and encouraging all New Yorkers to buy these lifesaving products.”

Assemblymember Wallace has prioritized fire safety throughout her time in office. She has secured over $800,000 for local volunteer fire departments to purchase critical equipment, including new hoses, self-contained breathing apparatuses, oxygen tanks, radios, and more. She also helped secure a $25 million grant program to help volunteer fire departments across the state upgrade their facilities and equipment. She has also passed legislation to raise awareness of the importance of home fire sprinklers in new single- and two-family homes in New York State.