New homes built in Northern Ireland must now have carbon monoxide (CO) alarms fitted as standard.
As part of an amendment to the Building Regulations legislation, developers must install a CO alarm in properties where a fuel-burning appliance is to be fitted. An alarm must also be purchased when a new or replacement appliance is being installed in an existing dwelling.
The move follows the deaths of two teenagers in 2010 who are believed to have been overcome by poisonous carbon monoxide fumes. The families of the two 18-year-olds have welcomed the move but want to see more done to increase awareness of the dangers of the odourless, tasteless, colourless gas.
Research carried out across the UK has claimed that half the population mistakenly believes that a smoke alarm will also let them know if there is a potentially dangerous level of CO in the atmosphere.
Experts from the Carbon Monoxide - Be Alarmed! campaign estimated that less than two-fifths of people have a CO alarm fitted in their home. This is despite the fact that more than 81 per cent of the 3,458 UK adults who took part in the survey said they know CO can kill.
According to a report by UTV, finance minister Sammy Wilson said: "Carbon monoxide alarms should not be seen as a substitute for a properly installed and maintained combustion appliance, but such tragedies may be averted by the installation of these relatively inexpensive alarms."